As part of their preparations to ensure that Sizewell B is able to operate until at least 2035, and potentially to 2055, EDF Energy has opened the UK’s first dry fuel store for used fuel. The lead supplier for the facility was Holtec International.
A dry fuel storage facility is a method of storing spent nuclear fuel that has already been cooled in the spent fuel pond (pool). The fuel is loaded into a metal canister which is then welded shut, and then placed within a large, leak-tight steel and concrete cask. Dry Fuel Storage Facilities (or Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations (ISFSI)) are used widely across the USA and Europe but this facility is the first in the UK.
With testing now complete, the dry fuel storage facility is being prepared to take its first delivery of spent fuel. The £200million project has been paid for by the independent Nuclear Liabilities Fund, which was established to cover the costs of decommissioning. The dry fuel store will safely house spent fuel from Sizewell B from autumn 2016 onwards until a Geological Disposal Facility is available for the longer term storage of spent fuel. The dry store was inaugurated by EDF Energy’s Chief Executive, Vincent de Rivaz, with Holtec’s President & Chief Executive, Dr. Kris Singh, and Sizewell’s local MP, Therese Coffey.