Project Cheetah, quietly rolled out in 2004, has produced some transformative technologies such as underground canister storage, double wall canister and forced gas dehydration that have made dry storage implementation increasingly more efficient with the storage systems evolving into vanishingly small dose emitters and impregnable fortresses of security. Cheetah-spawned technologies have notched several notable triumphs, such as making it possible to store Chernobyl’s water-logged fuel to Western standards of safety and executing dry storage at the old Humboldt Bay Power Plant (PG&E), which had neither a competent building structure nor a capable cask crane. The invention of METAMIC-HT, which possesses an excellent combination of neutron absorption, thermal and mechanical properties, is another proud achievement of Cheetah. Metamic-HT, a nano-technology product invented by Holtec, is used in the vast majority of Holtec’s casks and canisters.

VVER Fuel Basket Being Deployed in Ukraine
HI-STORM FW with elevated inlet ducts (Version E)

Today, we are pleased to announce the arrival of the latest batch of Cheetah’s consequential technologies that are poised to enter service within the next few months.  The most significant arrival is the high capacity (31 fuel assemblies), high heat load (38 kilowatt), dual-ability (storage and transport) fuel basket for Russian-origin VVER fuel. This world’s most advanced Fuel Basket for the large VVERs and its 85-storage cell sibling for the small (440 MW) VVERs, are installed in high-integrity double wall multi-purpose canisters. They will become Ukraine’s workhorse to transport the country’s used fuel from its nine reactors to the nation’s consolidated interim storage facility (CIS) due to open next year, also engineered by Holtec. All multi-purpose canisters being provided to Ukraine meet IAEA and NRC requirements, and are qualified for transportation by Ukraine’s regulator (SNRIU). The commissioning of the Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS) facility in 2020 will make Ukraine an international leader in away-from-reactor storage of high-level waste. The architect of Ukraine’s consolidated storage program, Energoatom President Yuriy Nedashkovsky says, “We are thrilled to be in the forefront of countries that have overcome the used fuel management challenge. For us, our central storage facility represents over $200 million in avoided remittance for storing our fuel in the Russian Federation. Ukraine will be $200 million richer each year as a result of the central storage facility. We thank Holtec for providing us the latest technology for storing VVER fuel.”  Our General-Director of Holtec Ukraine, Sergiy Tarakanov, a Ukraine native, promises that “Ukraine will continue to receive the latest in used fuel storage know-how from Holtec International.  There is a strong sense of support and empathy for Ukraine in Holtec’s executive ranks which is evident in the execution of the ongoing nuclear projects in our country.”

Another new entrant is Version E of HI-STORM FW storage cask which is even more flood-resistant than its predecessor model and can be equipped with additional shielding to render its proximate dose essentially negligible. 

The third notable entrant is HI-TRAN 300, our 300 ton payload, single failure proof cask transporter that is designed to “turn on a dime” and qualified to carry the new massive HI-STORMs at up to 10% grade and remain stable at the strongest Design Basis Earthquake specified at any Holtec client’s plant site. HI-TRAN 300 was engineered by the Nuclear Power Division and is being built by Holtec’s Advanced Manufacturing Division (Camden, NJ). The first HI-TRAN 300 is expected to enter service in first quarter of year 2020. 

HI-TRAN 300 cask transporter rated for 300-ton payload will see action in Brazil

By mid-2020, we hope to unveil new technologies envisaged under Project Cheetah that will aim to significantly reduce DOE’s total transportation cost to move the used fuel to a domestic consolidated interim storage facility such as HI-STORE CIS and an enhanced MPC dehydration package that will further accelerate drying of canisters. Team Cheetah is currently led by Michael Williams, our Director of International Site Services, who was formerly at Orano for many years. Under Mike’s able leadership, Cheetah’s sprint continues.