The risk of an accidental pool drain-down precipitating the dreaded specter of zirconium fire, while non-credibly improbable, stalks the decision-making process of every nuclear plant owner preparing to draw down its work force after ceasing operations. Addressing this concern has led Holtec to develop the proto-prompt decommissioning strategy, which we are pleased to unveil below in this news bulletin. The proto-prompt decommissioning envisages conversion of the plant to green field in roughly 5-1/2 years after a reactor’s shutdown. Meeting this ambitious schedule requires that the pool be defueled by transferring its used nuclear fuel to dry storage in no more than 2-1/2 years after the reactor’s shutdown.
Jupiter, Florida; In 2016, we completed 30 glorious years of operation. By every measure, our Company has performed spectacularly – growing employment at every one of the Company’s operation centers, rising sales, soaring capital investment, increasing annual revenue, EBIDTA & net income, strengthening employee satisfaction scores, excellent nuclear quality and timely delivery metrics, a robust culture of innovation as measured by new patents issued to the Company and, above all, a worker safety record at our manufacturing plants and power plant sites that is among the best-in-class in the nation.
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).
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.