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A shipment of spent nuclear fuel travels from the Advanced Test Reactor Complex to the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center.
A shipment of spent nuclear fuel travels from the Advanced Test Reactor Complex to the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center.

IDAHO FALLS, IdahoEM and cleanup contractor Fluor Idaho recently partnered with Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) to perform transfers of spent nuclear fuel at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site.

The shipments from the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) Complex to the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center (INTEC) allow BEA, which manages INL, to prepare for mission-critical work at the ATR.

Russ Cottam, Fluor Idaho spent nuclear fuel projects manager, said the shipments have been conducted safely and with a minimum staff to ensure social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fuel was transferred from wet storage at the ATR canal to the Chemical Processing Plant (CPP)-603 spent nuclear fuel storage facility, where it was placed in dry storage.

“We exceeded our goal of 10 shipments this calendar year and completed the scope ahead of schedule," Cottam said.

Fluor Idaho’s spent nuclear fuel program maximized CPP-603’s unused space so the program can transfer the remaining fuel from the CPP-666 basin to dry storage by 2023 to comply with an Idaho Settlement Agreement milestone.

New fuel buckets, fabricated by Fluor Idaho, allow 50 percent more ATR fuel elements to be stacked in fuel canisters at CPP-603. The new buckets are segmented differently than the previous ones, allowing fuel handlers to stack fuel assemblies in different configurations, resulting in more assemblies being loaded in the same amount of space.

With the new fuel buckets, CPP-603 can continue to accept the ATR fuel directly into dry storage for at least 10 more years.

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