Recent nuclear storage solution may save UK £2bn : A Cumbrian joint effort has manufactured what is believed to be a world-first nuclear storage solution and is expected to help the UK save about £2 billion in decommissioning costs.

Workington’s West Cumberland Engineering, Bendalls Engineering from Carlisle & TEAM Industrial Services having bases in Kendal and Carlisle have delivered the ‘Hybrid 1 63 Can Rack’ to Sellafield.

It has the ability to store 63 fuel cans in one rack, three times the number of fuel cans that can be contained in one underwater storage container which is an important breakthrough as space is restricted in the UK’s only storage pond for Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) fuel at Sellafield’s Thorp plant.

This will also lower the time it takes to take fuel away from AGR reactors, which is forecast to help the UK make the savings in decommissioning.

There are now 7 AGR power stations in the UK, that are all conducted by EDF Energy, which has supplied input into the project together with Sellafield Ltd, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) & Direct Rail Services.

The Cumbrian collaboration will make eight of the Hybrid 1 design racks in total and eight more are being made by Grahams Engineering from Lancashire.

Andrew Pringle, AGR operating Programme Manager for Sellafield Ltd stated: “As the AGR stations are coming to the end of their operational lives, we have to look at how we store the fuel. The current storage compartments can hold up to 20 fuel cans. We knew this wouldn’t be enough. So for a number of years, we’ve been working to design a solution.

“The answer is the 63 can rack, Hybrid 1 design. As the name suggests, it can store 63 fuel cans in one rack. The first rack has been placed in the Thorp Receipt and Storage Pond. We have a further 15 to follow and then the Hybrid 2 Rack, which is an enhanced design to optimise manufacturing, will be used to store fuel cans.

“This will ensure we can support ongoing AGR receipts and enable accelerated bulk defuelling of the AGR reactors from 8 years to 3.5 years. That’s good news for the taxpayer as it will potentially save around £2 billon in decommissioning costs.”

Recent nuclear storage solution may save UK £2bn

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