We are pleased to hail the arrival of the multi-purpose canister (MPCs) technology, originally espoused by the USDOE in the early 1990s as the most robust fuel packaging solution and embraced universally by the US nuclear plants, on the South American continent. Having led the first licensing and deployment of MPCs in the US in the late 1990s with an overwhelming market share in the US and many stalwart nuclear countries such as the UK, Spain, Mexico, Slovenia, and Ukraine, we now have the honor to welcome Eletronuclear of Brazil to our roster of distinguished users of the HI-STORM FW vertical ventilated overpack technology. The first HI-STORM FW system containing MPC-32ML which features a specially designed and licensed Metamic-HT™ fuel basket optimized for the unique Angra 2 fuel was successfully loaded in a HI-STORM FW system and placed onto the Complementary Dry Storage Unit for Spent Fuel (UAS) [called an ISFSI in the USA] on March 22nd, marking the official start of its planned 50 years of operation. The UAS was designed and licensed as a standalone nuclear installation according to CNEN 1.04, with supplemental directives for compliance with USNRC RG-3.2 and NUREG-1567. The UAS includes physical security, radiation and temperature monitoring, an armored access control center, and a storage warehouse with a technical workshop, designed and constructed by Holtec International. This event also marks the first use of Holtec’s HI-TRAN 300, a single-failure proof vertical heavy load hauler that was designed and manufactured at Holtec’s Advanced Manufacturing Division in Camden, New Jersey.
“The Angra’s UAS is a state-of-the-art facility whose commissioning marks a significant milestone for securing the future of the nuclear industry in Brazil, demonstrating that spent fuel from commercial reactor operations can be safely and reliably managed with Holtec’s Multi-Purpose Canister technology,” stated Dr. Richard M. Springman, SVP of International Projects for Holtec International. Eletronuclear’s Technical Director, Ricardo Luis Pereira dos Santos, concurred, commenting, “The UAS is a critical Project for Eletronuclear to ensure the continued operability of Angra 2 and Angra 1.”
Holtec International was awarded the contract in February 2017, after an international public tender for turnkey supply launched by Eletronuclear in 2016. The project scope is complex, including the customization and licensing of the HI-STORM FW system for Angra-1 (Westinghouse) and Angra-2 (Siemens) plants in Brazil, modernizations of the plants for safe handling of the systems, civil design and construction of the UAS, and services for loading the dry storage devices with spent fuel elements at the units and transferring them to the UAS. Despite the raging pandemic during construction and a rigorous licensing and permitting process for this first-of-kind facility in Brazil, Holtec and Eletronuclear worked closely to deliver the project in time to support plant operations.
To execute the project and to ensure compliance with Brazilian regulations and standards, Holtec launched a subsidiary – Holtec do Brasil – to be staffed largely with local talent with the aim to serve Brazil’s nuclear industry with in-depth knowledge of Brazil’s norms and standards. Based in Rio de Janeiro, Holtec do Brasil forms a key part of Holtec International’s project team, providing project management, design engineering, manufacturing services, site construction (including operation of a materials test lab at the Angra Nuclear Power Plant) and technicians that have been trained on the operations of the HI-STORM FW system. Holtec do Brasil has attracted strong nuclear capabilities in the country, employing over 40 personnel and establishing itself as a nuclear company with the needed expertise to support new nuclear and renewable projects in Brazil.
Over 1500 HI-STORM systems with various MPC models in service around the world, the MPC technology has fulfilled DOE’s vision of a robust, leak-tight, transportable waste package that can also serve as the disposal package. Made from austenitic stainless-steel alloy which is among the most fracture resistant and ductile metals known to humans, the MPC provides an incomparable level of safety compared to any technology that relies on gasketed joints for confinement protection. The same MPC technology has been incorporated in Holtec’s Small Modular Reactor, SMR-160, ensuring a long-term solution for on-site backend management without the need to ship the fuel offsite.