Workreport 2007-28



A Drying System for Spent Fuel Assemblies


Suikki, M., Warinowski, M. & Nieminen, J.



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The report presents a proposed drying apparatus for spent fuel assemblies. The apparatus is used for removing the moisture left in fuel assemblies during intermediate storage and transport. The apparatus shall be installed in connection with the fuel handling cell of an encapsulation plant.

The report presents basic requirements for and implementation of the drying system, calculation of the drying process, operation, service and maintenance of the equipment, as well as a cost estimate. Some aspects of the apparatus design are quite specified, but the actual detailed planning and final selection of components have not been included. The report also describes actions for possible malfunction and fault conditions.

An objective of the drying system for fuel assemblies is to remove moisture from the assemblies prior to placing the same in a disposal canister for spent nuclear fuel. Drying is performed as a vacuum drying process for vaporizing and draining the moisture present on the surface of the assemblies.

The apparatus comprises two pieces of drying equipment. One of the chambers is equipped to take up Lo1-2 fuel assemblies and the other OL1-2 fuel assemblies. The chambers have an internal space sufficient to accommodate also OL3 fuel assemblies, but this requires replacing the internal chamber structure for laying down the assemblies to be dried. The drying chambers can be closed with hatches facing the fuel handling cell. Water vapour pumped out of the chamber is collected in a controlled manner, first by condensing with a heat exchanger and further by freezing in a cold trap. For reasons of safety, the exhaust air of vacuum pumps is further delivered into the ventilation outlet duct of a controlled area. The adequate drying result is ascertained by a low final pressure of about 100 Pa, as well as by a sufficient holding time.

The chamber is built for making its cleaning as easy as possible in the event of a fuel rod breaking during a drying, loading or unloading process.

The total cost estimate, without a value added tax, for manufacturing the apparatus amounted 410 000 euros, including 95 000 euros for designing costs and 46 000 euros for installation costs.


Spent fuel drying, spent fuel encapsulation and final disposal of spent fuel


A Drying System for Spent Fuel Assemblies (pdf) (1 MB)


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