At-Reactor Conditions Affecting the Transportation of SNF from US Commercial Nuclear Sites

Robert A. Joseph - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Mark Nutt - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
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The US Department of Energy (DOE) is developing solutions for long-term sustainable management of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level radioactive waste (HLW). The DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, Office of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition, as part of its Integrated Waste Management (IWM) program, is applying integrated waste management system analysis, system engineering, and decision analysis principles which could inform planning and future decisions regarding potential future nuclear waste management system architectures. An important aspect of a potential future nuclear waste management system is the transportation of SNF from the fleet of commercial nuclear reactors to interim storage and/or disposal facilities. This paper reviews information regarding the transportation of SNF from the reactor fleet for use in IWM system analyses. This paper summarizes a preliminary evaluation of the SNF transportation infrastructure at nuclear power plant sites. The paper then explores the constraints in preparing SNF shipments that are imposed by refueling operations and associated spent fuel pool (SFP) activities at reactor sites. Additionally, approaches for how this information could be implemented into IWM system analyses are discussed. Much of this paper explores providing estimates of the times required for loading transportation casks from an SFP or from an independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI). The estimate of rail transportation preparation processing times for removing SNF from a reactor site considers steps between when a rail consist containing one or more empty SNF transportation casks arrives at either a reactor site or an intermodal transfer location and when the loaded rail consist leaves. Having estimates of unit processing times over this entire evolution is necessary since the casks and rolling stock are unavailable when in use, which affects estimates of cask and rolling stock fleet size.