Conference Proceedings Paper
DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN USED FUEL REPOSITORY ENGINEERED BARRIER SYSTEM
35th Annual CNS Conference - 2015 May 31 - June 3
C. Hatton (Nuclear Waste Management Organization)
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is responsible for the implementation of Adaptive Phased Management (APM), the federally-approved plan for the safe long-term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel. Under the APM plan, used nuclear fuel will ultimately be placed within a deep geological repository in a suitable rock formation.
In implementing APM, the NWMO is committed to ensure consistency with international best practices in the development of its repository system, including any advances in technology.
In 2012, the NWMO undertook an optimization study to look at both the design and manufacture of its engineered barriers. This study looked at current technologies for the design and manufacture of used fuel containers, placement technologies, repository design, and buffer and sealing systems, while taking into consideration the state of the art worldwide in repository design and acceptance.
The result of that study is the current Canadian engineered barrier system, consisting of a 2.7 tonne used fuel container with a carbon-steel core, copper-coated surface and welded spherical heads. The used fuel container is encapsulated in a bentonite buffer box at the surface and then transferred underground. Once underground, the used fuel is placed into a repository room which is cut into the rock using traditional drill-and-blast technologies.
This paper explains the logic for the selection of the container and sealing system design and the development of innovative technologies for their manufacture including the use of laser welding, cold spray and pulsed-electrodeposition copper coating for the manufacture of the used fuel container, isostatic presses for the production of the one-piece bentonite blocks, and slip-skid technologies for placement into the repository.
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