Russia's Federal Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (FCNRS) plans to start using TUK-1410 casks for the transport of used nuclear fuel from September. The cask will replace the 13th series of transport containers and is licensed to move used fuel assemblies from VVER-1000 reactors.

In Russia, TUK - transportation packaging set - casks are used to transport used nuclear fuel. Several TUK-13 casks fit into a container or TK carrier for rail transport, each cask holding about 6 tonnes of fuel. The TUK-1410 cask is to replace the older model for VVER-1000 fuel, both in Russia and from overseas.

In a statement today, the FCNRS said the first use of the new type of cask will be to take used fuel from unit 4 of the Balakovo nuclear power plant, in the Saratov region of Russia, to the Mayak Production Association, in Ozersk. TUK-1410 casks will be used for this operation along with TUK-13 casks, it added.

The TUK-1410 design is "significantly superior in terms of its technical characteristics and safety features" to the 13th series, the FCNRS said, "and is capable of transporting used nuclear fuel with increased enrichment and burnup". The decision to start using TUK-1410 casks this year is in line with safety requirements from Russian regulatory authorities for the transportation and handling of used nuclear fuel, it said.

Each TUK-1410 cask weighs over 100 tonnes, holds 18 VVER fuel assemblies weighing 9 tonnes in a removable canister, and is designed for hotter fuel - up to 36 kW heat load. The TUK-14 series is also more heavily shielded, and can carry VVER-1200 fuel. It fits a TK-U-141 railway carrier.

ROSATOM established the FCNRS in March 2007 as a back-end management division to arrange a centralised system for the management of used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, and for the decommissioning of nuclear and radiological facilities. The Mayak Production Association announced in December last year that its RT-1 reprocessing facility had received the first shipment of used fuel from a VVER-1000 reactor - from the Rostov nuclear power plant. Earlier, in June, Mayak announced that reprocessing of VVER-1000 fuel will allow the facility to reach its nominal capacity of 400 tonnes per year - up from its historical average of about 100-130 tonnes/year.
Source: World Nuclear News