Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 171 / Number 1 / May 2012 / Pages 41-51
The disposal of spent fuel assemblies (SFAs) by companies currently producing nuclear power in Finland is the responsibility of a company named Posiva Oy. Posiva Oy has decided to use the KBS-3 (Swedish abbreviation for nuclear fuel safety; version 3) concept. In KBS-3, SFAs are placed in metal canisters, which are themselves deposited deep into crystalline rock. The disposal process in Finland will last many decades. To efficiently assign SFAs to canisters, in this paper we study the minimax canister formation problem. In this problem, we assume we are given two sets of data: (a) a schedule specifying the number of disposal canisters per year and (b) the decay heat of each SFA for every disposal year. The goal in the problem is to assign SFAs to canisters so that the largest canister heat load is minimized. The minimax canister formation problem is a variant of a well-known optimization problem: makespan minimization on unrelated parallel machines. We developed heuristic methods for solving the minimax canister formation problem. Using our methods and predicted SFA amounts and properties for Finland, we obtained high-quality solutions in numerous test cases. We also investigated how the uncertainty in SFA burnups affects the canister heat loads.