In August, 2014 thirty damaged VVER-440 spent fuel assemblies were removed from Hungary to Mayak PA, Russia for reprocessing. Thus, the project on elimination of the consequences of SFA failure in a special tank at Paks NPP Unit 2 in April 2003 was successfully completed.
An international Technical Meeting on Lessons Learned from the Russian Research Reactor Fuel Return (RRRFR) Programme arranged by IAEA in cooperation with the Government of Vietnam was held on 18-20 June 2014 in Da-Nang City of Vietnam.
V. Smirnov, S. Komarov, S. Amosov, M. Nekhozhin, B. Kanashov, I. Kuzmin (Sosny R&D Company)
The paper describes implemented projects in preparing the SNF with a different damage level for the transport. The Leningrad NPP, Russia, performed experiments with leaky SFAs of the RBMK reactor. The Vinca Institute, Serbia, prepared damaged SNF from RA research reactor for the transport. The Paks NPP, Hungary, dealt with VVER-440 SNF debris. Each case required development of procedures for handling damaged fuel.
S. Tozser, P. Adelfang, E. Bradley (IAEA), M. Budu (Sosny R&D Company), M. Chiguer (AREVA)
IAEA, based on the empirical experiences gained during the decade of international cooperation in supporting the objectives of the take back programmes, will draw up a report presenting available reprocessing and recycling services for research reactor spent nuclear fuel.
In the framework of the Russian Research Reactor Fuel Return (RRRFR) Program, US DOE and Russian organizations have developed the first Type C cask to ship by air research reactor spent nuclear fuel. The TUK-145/C is based on the SKODA VPVR/M cask Type B package, encased in an energy absorbing container (EAC) that assures the containment tightness after an impact caused by an aircraft crash. It was used for four air shipments to Russia in 2013.
The Company’s main activities are developments and research in the field of nuclear power engineering.
The Sosny Company copes with non-standard tasks of handling spent nuclear fuel from power, research and propulsion reactors in Russia and abroad.
The Sosny Research and Development Company was established in 1992 as a partnership to support post-irradiation examinations (PIE) of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) of power-grade reactors in shielded cells at the SSC RIAR material testing facility. Primarily, the work included delivery of irradiated SFAs from Russian and Ukrainian NPPs to the PIE facility. The Company was able to invariably supply objects of research to the PIE facility for more than 15 years due to the effectiveness of the proposed logistical solutions and low cost.
Initially, Sosny used many years’ experience of its employees for SFA post-irradiation examinations, since manufacturers and developers of new fuels for VVER and RBMK reactors needed data to understand the fuel behavior under normal, transient and accident conditions. Moreover, the material testing facility needed new non-standard methods for SNF research and testing.
Sosny’s clients were customers of SNF post-irradiation examinations: first, nuclear fuel manufacturers, and then, TVEL OJSC.
Handling of nearly all types of reactors (power-grade, research, propulsion), especially storage, transportation and reprocessing issues, had forged into the lead by 2003. While the nuclear industry has a smoothly running system of handling the spent fuel, non-standard situations requiring special approaches based on the knowledge of its behavior may yet arise. These include the following challenges, Sosny has been coping with:
Elimination of consequences of the fuel destruction at the Paks NPP,
Preparation and removal of the RA reactor SNF from Vinca Institute, Serbia to Russia,
Assessment of a feasibility and practicality of reprocessing non-conforming RBMK SNF at Mayak PA,
Improving safety of storage conditions for the spent fuel from the EGP-6 reactors at the Bilibino NPP,
Preparation of the AMB-100 and AMB-200 reactor SNF for transportation and reprocessing at Mayak PA.
Removal of the spent fuel from SSC IPPE.
The Company is particularly focused on the International Program on Russian Research Reactor Fuel Return (RRRFR) aimed at consolidation and conversion of highly enriched uranium (HEU). Before the program was launched, the Company had already had reactor physicists and nuclear and radiation safety experts in its staff with long experience at research reactor facilities. The Sosny experts develop procedures and equipment for loading spent fuel assemblies into casks, train facility personnel in handling the casks, obtain necessary approvals and prepare safety assessment documents. Numerous tasks have been performed under the RRRFR program:
Certification of foreign packages in the Russian Federation: SKODA VPVR/M (2005), CASTOR MTR (10),
Development of an overpack for transportation of Russian TUK-19 cask nu different conveyances, including aircraft,
Modernization of a vessel for SNF transportation,
Development of a transfer cask for loading spent fuel assemblies into Russian casks TUK-19 casks,
Development of a Type C package for the transport of radioactive material with no restrictions on activity by different transport modes including aircrafts.
Leading experts have 15-30-year experience (research into spent nuclear fuel, operation of research reactors). The Company has a big staff of design and process engineers, logistics and electronics engineers, programmers, economists, lawyers, and translators. As of beginning 2012, the total number of the employees was 190. Most of the employees graduated from leading Russian institutes of Moscow, S.Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, Ulyanovsk and Tomsk. The headquarters are in Moscow, and the branch offices are in Dimitrovgrad and Elekrostal.
The Sosny binds its prospects with tackling SNF management tasks in the Russian fuel cycle and is planning to participate in relevant Rosatom and Rosenergoatom tenders. We make our living by doing real research and development as stated in the Statute of the Company.