Holtec and Exelon Generation recently hosted a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) welding dry run inspection of multi-purpose canister (MPC) lid welding at Holtec’s Camden technology campus in support of Exelon’s Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station’s implementation of Holtec’s dry cask storage systems. The fact that the NRC accepted a single dry run as meeting the commitment for stations in Exelon Generation’s eastern fleet (Peach Bottom, Limerick, Ginna, Nine Mile Point and Calvert Cliffs plants) speaks to the confidence instilled in the eyes of the regulatory authorities by our site services team’s demonstration.

A Joint Holtec and Exelon Team Successfully Completes the First Dry Run at Holtec’s Camden Technology Campus. Photo taken prior to face coverings being required.

“Considering the vital confinement function rendered by the lid-to-shell closure weld, Holtec employs the largest weld size in its canisters in the industry. I trust the extremely conservative welding requirement imposed on our MPCs provided the assurance of added safety margin to NRC officials,” said Steven Soler, Holtec’s Director of Domestic Site Services. 

“The NRC’s acceptance of a single welding dry run representing multiple plant sites demonstrates the effectiveness of the Holtec and Exelon team’s collaboration, capabilities and commitment to executing safe dry cask storage campaigns,” said PK Chaudhary, Holtec’s Senior Vice President of Operations.

“The Exelon Alliance partnership with Holtec in support of spent nuclear fuel management will help ensure we continue to safely and efficiently maintain fuel in dry cask storage,” said Dave Lewis, Exelon Vice President, Outage Planning and Services. “The initiative to perform a single NRC demonstration of cask welding reduces the regulatory burden of required inspections for each spent fuel campaign.”    

Though the ongoing pandemic presented new and evolving challenges for the dry run, the Holtec and Exelon Generation team practiced social distancing and reinforced proper health and safety practices throughout the inspection. Using thorough pre-job briefs, the welding dry run was successfully completed without any open items to the NRC.

Following the initial welding dry run, a second dry run for drying and backfill operations for Peach Bottom only was successfully completed at Peach Bottom again without any issues identified by the NRC. A joint second dry run is planned to be held at Holtec’s Camden technology center during the summer so that Ginna, Limerick, Nine Mile Point and Calvert Cliffs can participate and fulfill their dry run commitment for drying and backfill operations at their respective sites.