We are pleased to report the safe and successful completion of the first cask loading campaign at Watts Bar, home of TVA’s newest PWR located on the Tennessee River. The plant utilizes Holtec’s high capacity MPC-37 canister, whose high heat rejection capacity is attributed to the monolithic fuel basket made from METAMIC-HT, a patented nanotechnology product introduced by Holtec in 2006.
We applaud Entergy’s November 8, 2016 announcement to accelerate the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee by several decades. This pioneering move by Entergy should be a pace setter for the nuclear industry and welcome news for the people of Vermont. We are proud that this expedited decommissioning will be possible, in part, because of Holtec’s introduction of the industry’s first nanotechnology-derived fuel basket (Metamic-HT) a decade ago (in 2006), which makes it possible to safely transfer two-year old used fuel to dry storage in full accord with the NRC’s guidance and regulations. Accelerated defueling of the reactor vessel and the fuel pool equates to the expedited start of decommissioning of a retiring plant. Entergy’s announcement means that decommissioning does not need to be preceded by decades of SAFSTOR (wet storage in the fuel pool) with its cost and schedule uncertainty, and the sad silhouette of a deceased nuclear plant does not need to loom over the landscape for decades.
On October 18, 2016, Ukraine’s national nuclear utility, Energoatom, celebrated its 20th anniversary with the Company’s President, Yuriy Nedashkovsky, predicting with confidence that Ukraine will commission its national consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) by 2018 year-end. Ukraine’s CISF, with Holtec serving as the prime contractor, is located in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. The site was formally authorized after extensive consultations by the country’s Council of Ministers on October 5, 2016. Ukraine’s CISF will be the world’s first consolidated interim storage facility for VVER (a Russian reactor) fuel and a huge money-saver for the country, to the tune of $150 million each year in avoided payments to Russia. Manufacturing of the first campaign of casks, canisters, and ancillaries is underway at Holtec’s manufacturing plants in the U.S. for delivery to the site by 2017 year-end.
We are pleased to announce that our Memorandum of Understanding entered over a year ago evolved into an agreement which formalizes the design authority role of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO) and its U.S. subsidiary, Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Inc. (MEPPI) over instrumentation and control (I&C) systems for the SMR-160. On September 21, 2016, officials of MELCO, MEPPI and Holtec ratified the agreement during a signing ceremony in Kobe, Japan (see photo below). Under the agreement, MELCO/MEPPI will continue to develop the digital instrumentation and control systems and the associated human-system interface infrastructure founded on its proven digital control system for nuclear power plants based on the MELTAC control platform (see second photo below).
With the opening of the manufacturing plants at the Holtec Technology Campus only a few months away, our Human Resources Department is gearing up to accelerate our personnel recruitment drive with an ambitious goal for work force diversity. The Campus already has 57 total employees from Camden County, 10 of whom are natives of the City of Camden. All of our new recruits were hired for reasons of individual competence, not to meet any internal quotas.
To earn the USNRC (or IAEA’s) certification, a transport cask must pass a series of “free drop” tests, in which a scaled replica of the loaded cask is required to be shown to maintain its radiation blockage capability substantially unimpaired, if dropped from a 30 foot elevation onto “an essentially unyielding surface.” Under the USNRC and international regulations, the cask’s orientation at impact with the target is required to be selected so as to induce maximum damage to the cask. For the HI-STAR ATB-1T cask (or HI-STAR 330), introduced to our readers in issue HH 30.16, the “free drop” tests were a particularly daunting challenge because, in contrast to a fuel-bearing transport cask which is cylindrical, HI-STAR ATB-1T has a large rectangular footprint (12 feet x 5.9 feet) with several corners, facets and edges that render it vulnerable to a crushing impact loading. Further, whereas cylindrical fuel transport casks are always outfitted with impact limiters, the HI-STAR ATB-1T cask (weighing 120 tons with its payload) has no impact limiter to cushion its impact upon its collision with the target. To minimize crew dose during loading and unloading evolutions, the HI-STAR ATB-1T cask is also equipped with an innovative quick connect/disconnect controlled cask locking system (CLS) in lieu of a conventional bolted lid.
We are pleased to report that the State of New Mexico has approved the land sale option allowing Holtec International to purchase 1,000 acres of land from the Eddy Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA). The land acquisition option paves the way for Holtec to build a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) in Southeast New Mexico, which has been named HI-STORE. The New Mexico State Board of Finance (SBoF), led by Governor Susana Martinez, overwhelmingly supported the CISF project by approving the land purchase option. The SBoF is charged with the responsibility of approving property sales by any political subdivision in the state of New Mexico, as well as approving any financial or business investments by the State. The members of the SBoF are keenly aware of the role that HI-STORE might play to solve the Nation’s used fuel storage problem and diversify the economy in Southeast New Mexico. The land deal is a major milestone for the Holtec International-ELEA Team and a huge step in assuring Holtec that the Company’s agreement with ELEA to purchase the property is secure.
We are pleased to report that the license application to store the NUHOMS 24PT1-DSC canister in the HI-STORM UMAX subterranean storage system has been submitted to the U.S. NRC on schedule, as announced previously in this news bulletin (HH-31.09). The submittal presents a robust safety case for the processes for extracting the dry shielded canister from its horizontal module, up-righting and installing it in the HI-STORM UMAX’s subterranean cavity. As expected, change in the storage configuration from the horizontal NUHOMS to the vertical HI-STORM UMAX improves every metric of safety and security for the fuel which should help expedite NRC’s certification. The unavailability of proprietary design information from the canister’s designer, Areva, did not prove to be much of an impediment in the safety analysis effort. In due time, Holtec plans to submit all remaining canister types supplied by others that are presently in use around the U.S. for transfer to the HI-STORM UMAX. The object of this licensing campaign is to make it possible to store all U.S. commercial fuel at our planned Eddy-Lea alliance-sponsored HI-STORE CISF (consolidated interim storage facility) in Southeast New Mexico using a common storage system and a single type of ancillary equipment, to minimize human error.
We are pleased to note that the silhouettes of the buildings on the Holtec Technology Campus stand as monuments to Camden’s renaissance to the motorists on the Walt Whitman Bridge, Interstate 676 and from Penn’s Landing across the river. The construction of the main structures at the site is expected to be finished by early January. Holtec and our General Contractor, J.J. Jingoli & Sons would like to thank the State, County, SJPC and City of Camden officials whose steadfast support has enabled our Project Team to make impressive progress despite the plethora of issues that arise every week.
On August 3, 2016, at the semi-annual gathering of the Holtec Advisory Council, senior officers of Atomic and Automation International, a UAE (United Arab Emirates)-based Company, dedicated to spearheading the infusion of western power plant technologies in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, signed an agreement with Holtec International to launch a joint venture to leverage Holtec’s technology assets to aid in the region’s industrialization. The joint venture will be named “Holtec Arabia” and will be based in Dubai, UAE. Its immediate mission consists of expanding the deployment of Holtec’s cutting edge technology in heat transfer equipment and systems including stainless steel air-cooled condensers, water-cooled condensers, feedwater heaters, etc., for the power and process industries. The joint venture will also provide storage and transport systems for spent nuclear fuel to the region’s budding nuclear power industry. The joint venture will build on Holtec’s existing business presence and substantial brand name recognition in the Middle East.