The Chernobyl Defueling Project, World’s Largest, Makes Major Strides

The semi-annual meeting of the Assembly of Donors on July 16, 2015 in London heard Holtec and the Owner State Specialised Enterprise Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (SSE ChNPP) jointly present the latest status on the Chernobyl Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility (ISF-2) Project. The presentation revealed significant accomplishments in every sphere of the project including licensing, manufacturing and site construction. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) presentation to the Assembly was equally laudatory of the extent and quality of progress made in the project.

Among the milestone achievements reported to the donors is the approval of the Double Wall Canister (Holtec patent number: #US8135107B2) by the Ukrainian regulator – State Nuclear Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU). Failure to qualify their double confinement design (a critical regulatory requirement in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster), it is recalled, ended Areva’s efforts to execute the Chernobyl project in 2007 after eight years of work and led to Holtec being appointed as the successor contractor. Along with the notable approval of the Double Wall Canister, the regulator has also approved virtually all critical safety packages for the project including those on the transfer cask, Hot Cell equipment and the Forced Gas Dehydrator (Holtec patent numbers: #US7096600B2, #US7210247B2, #US7707741B2, #US8266823B2, #US8561318B2, #8737559B2). The Engineering design and licensing phase is now in closing weeks of successful completion.

DWCs in Manufacturing Stations in the Fabrication Bay at the Holtec Manufacturing Division, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
DWCs in Manufacturing Stations in the Fabrication Bay
at the Holtec Manufacturing Division, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

In parallel, the fabrication effort at the Holtec Manufacturing Division (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Orrvilon (Orville, Ohio) and a clutch of third party suppliers in the U.S., Germany, Slovakia, and Ukraine has continued apace with many components already completed and delivered. The most noteworthy of the hardware completions is the first batch of ten Double Wall Canisters that will soon head to Ukraine from the United States. These canisters, along with the recently built ones for Sizewell B, are the industry’s first double wall confinement vessels for used nuclear fuel.

The progress in the site construction work is equally impressive: by common consensus the site construction work is 57% complete at this writing with full completion expected by July 2016. The site construction work is being carried out virtually entirely by the Ukrainian workers. Even more important, the construction safety record is perfect: no reportable injuries and/or accidents after over 550,000 person-hours of hard hat work!

“We are immensely proud of our engineering, licensing, manufacturing and construction accomplishments thus far which would not have been possible without the spirit of cooperation exhibited by all stakeholders in every aspect of our endeavors in this project,” noted Holtec’s Vice President of Ukraine Operations, Mr. Riaz Awan.

Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister, Honorable Valerii Voschevskyi, who attended the Assembly meeting, thanked Holtec and EBRD, expressing full satisfaction with the project’s attainments.

Media Files: HH 30.08

Written by Amy Grant

Amy Grant is a graphic designer and web developer. She is the founder of the Southwark Historical Society, a volunteer based group that studies the Southwark Historical District located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.