CNL poised to study world’s oldest dry-stored spent CANDU® reactor fuel; results to inform long-term storage, transport and disposal of KHNP fuel
CHALK RIVER, Ontario (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), operator of 24 nuclear power plants in South Korea, are pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to cooperate on research related to spent nuclear fuel. Under terms of the agreement, the organizations will engage in knowledge-sharing and other joint activities to advance storage, transportation and disposal practices for spent CANDU® nuclear fuel, and to explore opportunities to collaborate on nuclear decommissioning and waste management initiatives.
Informing the research under the MOU is data on the dry storage of spent fuel that has been gathered by CNL (and previously Atomic Energy of Canada Limited) for decades based on actual conditions. CNL and KHNP will leverage this research to ensure safe and informed decision-making on future fuel storage, transportation and disposal activities.
“CNL and KHNP have a shared interest in advancing research related to the management and disposal of spent nuclear fuel, so this partnership will benefit both organizations,” commented Kristan Schruder, CNL’s General Manager and Deputy Vice-President of Environmental Remediation Management. “And it is our hope that we can continue to build on this collaboration, exploring other areas where we have common interests, including decommissioning and waste management technologies and practices.”
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories has decades of experience and expertise in dry and wet storage of spent nuclear fuel. CNL (and previously AECL) has not only operated multiple CANDU prototype and test reactors at the Chalk River, Douglas Point, Gentilly, and Whiteshell sites, the company has also managed spent fuel and performed supporting research for these and other commercial reactors for many decades. The Chalk River Laboratories campus is also home to shielded facilities and advanced materials research capabilities that are uniquely equipped to conduct post-irradiation examination on spent CANDU fuels.
Similar to Canada, South Korea is home to a number of nuclear power plants that account for a significant portion of the country’s clean energy supply, including three units that are Canada-designed CANDU pressurized heavy water reactors. A fourth CANDU unit in South Korea has been permanently shut down. To safely manage the spent fuel from these operations, KHNP has been preparing to initiate a research project this year that will focus on the long-term management of CANDU spent fuel in dry storage.