P. 1
IEM Chair’s Summary : Safety of Spent Fuel

IEM Chair’s Summary : Safety of Spent Fuel

|Views: 187|Likes:
Published by IAEAInformation
Chair's Summary - Safety of Spent Fuel
Chair's Summary - Safety of Spent Fuel

More info:

Published by: IAEAInformation on Apr 11, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOCX, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





International Expert Meeting (19 – 22 March 2012


Co-Chair’s Summary: Safety of Spent Fuel

Looking back at the events at Fukushima, it is now clear that the design and circumstances of the spent fuel pools, combined with the actions undertaken by the Japanese prevented any significant both wet and dry, also performed well. However, during and after the accident, there were significant concerns regarding: Loss of cooling; Loss of water; Re-criticality; Hydrogen production; Zirconium fires; and consequent damage to the fuel and large release of radioactivity. All of these concerns, even if they did not materialize, need to be addressed if we are to assure the public of the safety of nuclear energy. One year later, this meeting has brought together the experts around the world to share the outcome of their reviews and assessment. Based on the exhaustive presentations made by them and the frank and open discussions that followed the concerns brought out during this meeting can be summarised as follows.  The main concern is for fuels of LWRs stored under water in storage pools. In recent years, the capacity of existing fuel pools has been increased using high density storage racks. Enrichment in fuel has also gone up to provide for longer cycles and higher burn-ups. Further many fuel pools along with NPPs now have extended life of 60 years and possibly more. All these factors increase the vulnerability of LWR fuel pools. release of radioactivity from the spent fuel. The centralized onsite storage facilities,

Some specific technical issues about the safety of these spent fuel pools are as follows:  High density fuel pools provide little grace time (few hours) if active cooling gets interrupted.  Loss of water would reduce shielding making any physical intervention difficult.   Risk of re-criticality needs to be considered. Progression of the accident sequence may give rise to hydrogen generation, explosions and subsequent release of radioactivity. The question of zirconium fires also needs to be addressed. These are particularly important issues for fuel pools that are located in buildings not designed for confinement of radioactivity or mitigation of hydrogen explosion.

Dry storage of spent fuel, in comparison, appears safer due to use of sealed containers and passive cooling by atmospheric air. However it has the limitation of being able to accept only adequately cooled fuel.

The solution to reducing the vulnerabilities of the wet storage pools obviously lies in moving the spent fuel from these pools to safer off-site destinations such as dry storages or geological disposal sites or to reprocess it. But these are policy decisions and even if they are taken now would take considerable time for implementation. In the meanwhile it is essential to enhance the safety of the existing spent fuel pools on lines similar to those being adopted for the nuclear reactors. The Agency may consider developing guidance in this area.

The main recommendations to achieve this are: Reassessment of fuel pool structural integrity for revised value of seismicity and other external hazards. Improving cooling arrangements by providing redundancy and diversity in equipment and power supply. Making alternate provisions for adding water. Providing portable water supplies/power supplies.


Providing “hardened” instruments for monitoring condition of fuel pools (water level, temperature, radiation field, presence of hydrogen and fission products, etc.)


Providing means for management of hydrogen and confinement of radioactivity where it does not exist. Reassessment of accident progression to estimate time available for various mitigative actions during accident management phase. Research in areas related to better understanding of various phenomena in accident progression such as properties of irradiated fuel mechanisms of heat transfer under accident condition metalwater reaction and hydrogen generation, release of radioactive products and their transport/dispersion. The Agency may consider initiating coordinated research programmes in these areas.

The meeting also discussed some needs specific to the Fukushima site, such as the challenges in inspection, defueling and clean-up of the reactor pools and the management of damaged spent fuel and corium.

Shridhar K. Chande Atomic Energy Regulatory Board India

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->