North American Member News February 2023


1 March 2023


Eileen Supko

Orano Patents for Decommissioning Nuclear Reactors

In February, Orano Decommissioning Services (DS) announced that it implemented two patents for a new method of decommissioning shutdown nuclear reactors.

The process, referred to an Optimized Segmentation, segments the reactor internals and removes the segmented material from the reactor vessel (RV). This waste is then repacked into the RV, which is then cut into three large pieces for transport and disposal as low-level radioactive waste (LLW) as shown in the figure below.

The process is being used by Orano DS for the accelerated decommissioning of the Crystal River 3 reactor in Florida, US. This process reduces the amount of segmentation required for the reactor internals for packaging into standardized waste containers. The greater-than-Class C (GTCC) waste (e.g., waste above the Class C limits for disposal of LLW in the U.S.) is packaged for storage onsite in dry storage casks similar to those used for packaging of spent fuel.

Once the repackaged internals are placed back into the RV, they are immobilized with grout. This grout-filled RV is then cut into three large segments. Each segment is packaged and shipped in a tailer made packages. Only the middle section (shown on the right above) requires shipment in a Type B package. Orano DS submitted a license application for the new package, Model No. CR3MP, to the NRC in September 2021.  The package continues under NRC review. The top and bottom segments will be transported in Industrial Packaging.

For more information regarding this package, see a White Paper, NRC presentation and Safety Analysis reports with links below.


NRC presentation

Redacted Safety Analysis Report

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