Safety, Continuous Improvement Make First Used Fuel Storage Campaign a Watts Bar Team Success

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A large, integrated team from across the site worked together to safely complete the first Watts Bar used fuel storage campaign during the past several weeks. The team, which included Watts Bar employees, Holtec and D&Z team members, and support from Sequoyah and Browns Ferry, loaded 222 used fuel assemblies into six massive storage cask (shown behind the team) below the overall project dose goal.

A very large and integrated team focused on safety and continuous improvement to successfully complete Watts Bar’s first used fuel storage campaign.

During a span of seven weeks, the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) team loaded and moved 222 used fuel bundles from the spent fuel pool into robust storage containers and then onto the seismically designed ISFSI pad.

“Safety — nuclear, radiological and personnel — all were critical to the success of this campaign and our team kept all of them on the forefront of their minds,” said Watts Bar Spent Fuel Services Program Manager Darrel Reed. “When you think about this campaign, six times we were handling fuel, loading and rigging the massive containers, welding containers and conducting heavy hauls with the crawler. The keys to working safe throughout the campaign were planning, preparedness and practice so that the execution went smoothly.”

One of the most successful elements of the campaign was the radiological performance. Although there were challenges loading the first cask, the team applied lessons learned, looked for continuous improvement opportunities and sought out experience from others in the fleet to finish the campaign at 1,280 mREM, which was under the total goal of 1,873 mREM. In fact, the team turned in an industry-leading low dose of 105 mREM for the final cask.

“Maintaining low dose was a direct result of the team and individuals being cognizant of their behaviors, making a conscious effort to avoid higher dose areas when not directly working and building in lessons learned as the project moved forward,” said Radiation Protection Superintendent Bill Jasper. “They modeled As Low As Reasonably Achievable behaviors, and their results were commendable.”