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A Novel Approach to Spent Fuel Pool Decommissioning

R. L. Demmer, J. B. Panozzo, R. J. Christensen

Nuclear Technology / Volume 163 / Number 3 / Pages 444-452

September 2008

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The Dresden Nuclear Power Station Unit 1 spent fuel pool (SFP) (Exelon Generation Company) was decommissioned using a new underwater coating process developed in cooperation with Idaho National Laboratory (INL). This was the first time that a commercial nuclear power plant SFP was decommissioned using this underwater coating process. This approach has advantages in many aspects, particularly in reducing airborne contamination and allowing safer, more cost-effective deactivation. The process was pioneered at INL and used to decommission three SFPs with a total combined pool volume of >900 000 gal. INL provided engineering support and shared project plans to successfully initiate the Dresden project.

This paper outlines the steps taken by INL and Exelon to decommission SFPs using the underwater coating process. The rationale used to select the underwater coating process and the advantages and disadvantages are described. Special circumstances are also discussed, such as the use of a remotely operated underwater vehicle to visually and radiologically map the pool areas that were not readily accessible. Several specific areas where special equipment was employed are discussed, and a "lessons learned" evaluation is included.

 
 
 
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