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.