Energoatom said that construction and installation work at the construction site of the Centralised Spent Fuel Storage Facility (CSFSF) must be completed by the end of September 2020.
Acting Energoatom Peter Kotin set this task during a field meeting on the construction of the CSNSF, which took place in the Exclusion Zone of the Chernobyl nuclear plant on 15 May.
At present, the general contractor Ukrbudmontazh is increasing the pace of work on the site that was slowed down by the coronavirus anti-pandemic measures and fires in the Exclusion Zone in April of this year.
The number of workers involved in the construction of buildings and installing equipment is now gradually increasing, the company said. A system of continuous monitoring of the installation of equipment has also been introduced.
The meeting noted that there should be no further delays in the restoration of the railway track at the Vilcha-Yaniv section, which is to be used for the transportation of used nuclear fuel from three Ukrainian NPPs for storage to the new facility.
The Vilcha-Yaniv railway is under the management of Ukrzaliznytsia. It has not been operated for several decades and is in a dilapidated condition. A roadmap for measures to restore the railway section was developed to address the issue, but deadlines for the implementation of the roadmap were not met due to lack of funding.
Ukrbudmontazh is resuming work on the CSFSF construction site. Installation of the main bridge crane Meloni with a capacity of 185/20 tons has been completed, and preparatory work is underway for testing. At the container storage site, work on the installation of 110 reinforced concrete foundations, concreting of water intake canals and rainwater wells, and paving between slabs have been completed.
In the maintenance building with a warehouse for multifunctional containers (BCC), a bridge crane with a capacity of 50/5 tons was installed and almost all electrical work is done. The capital construction of all administrative buildings has been completed, internal and external finishing works and laying of internal technical communications are underway. An overhead electric crane with a capacity of 5 tons has been installed in the garage building, and electrical installation work continues.
At the three nuclear power plants - Rovno, South-Ukraine and Khmelnytsky – preparatory work is being completed for the transportation of used fuel to the new storage. The equipment at the NPPs, supplied by US company Holtec International, has already been tested. Certification of railway rolling stock for transportation of HI-STAR and HI-TRAC has alos been completed.
The contract for the construction of the CSNSF between Energoatom and Holtec was signed in 2005. However, the project was virtually frozen because of political and financial difficulties and only resumed in 2014, with work starting in 2017. The commissioning of the first facility is scheduled for 2020. The facility will provide long-term storage (100 years) for used fuel from the three Ukrainian nuclear plants. The design capacity is for 458 HI-STORM containers, which will be able to hold 16,529 used fuel assemblies. Energoatom said the commissioning of the CSNSF will save up $140 million per year compared with the current arrangement which is to send the used fuel to Russia for processing.