Assessing the Success of Shipping High Burn-Up Sister Rods from ORNL to PNNL

Edward Ketusky - Savannah River National Laboratory
Lynh Nugyen - Savannah River National Laboratory
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Used Fuel Disposition Campaign (UFDC), in collaboration with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the commercial nuclear industry have initiated a group of projects to obtain data to support the enhancement of the technical bases for the extended storage and transportation of high-burnup (HBU) (>45 GWd/MTU) spent nuclear fuel (SNF). Under this overall effort, a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission-licensed storage cask was loaded with Thirty-Two (32) HBU SNF assemblies. The cask was modified to allow radial and axial temperature profiles to be measured using thermocouple lances inserted through the lid. Twenty-five (25) rods from similar assemblies of similar claddings, in-reactor placement, and burnup histories (herein called “sister rods”) have been shipped from the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant and are currently being nondestructively tested at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). To meet UFD’s research objectives, testing on ten (10) of these rods is required to be performed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Although the twenty-five rods were originally received at ORNL in the 10-160B, the PNNL facility that would need to receive the ten (10) rods did not have an active history with using the 10-160B. This paper first identifies and summarizes various criteria and evaluations used in helping to select which package will be used for the shipment of the ten (10) sister rods to PNNL (i.e., Bases on why the NAC-LWT was chosen). With the shipment scheduled to be complete, identified potential concerns, issues, lessons learned, and transportation summary documents were studied (post-shipment). The adequacy of the criteria and evaluations used to choose the NAC-LWT were accessed to determine their adequacy. The results show the criteria were adequate. However, it was noted that DOE Order 460.2A, DOE M 460.2-1A, and DOE G 460.2-1 have differences in the terminology and scope, resulting in clarity issues and differences in regulatory interpretation. Since one-of-a kind spent fuel shipments are uncommon, the topic will be significant interest to people who work in radioactive material packaging and transportation.