Inactive Commissioning at Sizewell B

edf energy 150Sizewell B- has received agreement from the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to begin the inactive commissioning process to prove out the dry storage implementation steps.

This agreement to the release of a holdpoint (one of several that have to be satisfied before the system can be put into full operation) caps 30 months of an intense design and safety analysis effort by teams on both sides of the Atlantic and represents a significant milestone for UK’s first dry storage Project. Commenting on the achievement, EDF Energy’s Managing Director – Generation, Mr. Stuart Crooks (pictured on the right), said, “Trust, transparency and Teamwork have been the watch words for this project. You can achieve amazing feats of engineering and project delivery if everyone works as one team with a common goal of safety, reliability and quality. It has been and continues to be a true partnership.”

The Sizewell B HI-STORM MPC storage system, developed by Holtec International, in close collaboration with EDF Energy’s project team, reflecting EDF Energy’s and the UK’s ethos of striving to be second-to-none in radiation and human safety in nuclear implementations, is engineered to be a performance champion in every aspect, as illustrated by the following examples: 1) The dose from the EDF HI-STORM storage overpack on the ISFSI is 1000 times less than that of a typical metal cask used for storage; 2) The multi- purpose canister features a double wall confinement system versus the single wall design which is more commonly used; and 3) While all heavy load handling devices are single failure proof, the fuel bearing containers and casks are designed to withstand a hypothetical free drop event without loss of their essential safety function.

The HI-STORMs, MPCs, transfer cask, the Forced Helium Dehydration system and the ancillary equipment needed for fuel loading, all built by the Holtec Manufacturing Division (HMD) in Pittsburgh, PA, are at the site as are the hauling transporter and the lifting transporter, the latter manufactured jointly by HMD and J&R Engineering.

The Inactive Commissioning phase is due to be completed in October 2015 before the plant turns its attention towards preparing for a scheduled outage. In parallel, the construction of the new Dry Fuel Store building continues apace with the concrete slab, the Cask Transfer Facility (Holtec patent No. US6793450B2) and the internal accommodation walls completed. Erection of the building frame steelwork (which comprises 4,000 components weighing a total of 1,000 tons) is progressing. Loading of the first spent fuel is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

Sizewell B will be the third nuclear site in Europe to be equipped with the HI-STORM technology, the other two being Jose Cabrera (Zorita) and ASCO, both in Spain. The design and construction of a large HI-STORM central storage facility in the Chernobyl exclusion zone to store the nation’s VVER fuel is well underway under the aegis of Ukraine’s national utility, Energoatom.

Holtec’s Senior V.P., Bill Woodward, thanked EDF Energy for reposing their confidence in Holtec’s ability to deliver a uniquely challenging project as “together we stand on the threshold of establishing a global standard setting storage facility.”