The developers of two different packages for the transport of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) have reported progress with their individual designs. Daher has submitted an application for certification for its DN30 package to US regulators, while China Nuclear New Energy Nuclear Industry Engineering Co Ltd's XN740 UF6 transport package has completed a 9 metre drop test.

The DN30 PSP (Image: Daher)

China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) subsidiary China Nuclear New Energy Nuclear Industry Engineering Co Ltd announced yesterday that its XN740 UF6 transport package recently successfully completed the test, which involved dropping the 740-litre package 9 metres onto a hard surface. After the test, which was witnessed by the National Nuclear Safety Administration, the package was found to "still be in an effective protection state".

China Nuclear New Energy said that following "years of research and development", the XN740 package has now completed simulation calculations, prototype design and R&D of materials for the outer packaging.

CNNC operates a uranium conversion facility in Lanzhou in northwest China's Gansu province. The plant has a nameplate capacity of some 5000 tU per year. A further plant, with a capacity of 9000 tU per year, is also reportedly under construction there. Another conversion plant at Diwopu, Jiuquan, near Yumen in Gansu province, is run by CNNC 404 Company and has an annual capacity of about 500 tU.

Meanwhile, Germany-based Daher Nuclear Technologies GmbH has confirmed to World Nuclear News it has submitted its application for approval of its DN30 transport package to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The DN30 can be used for reprocessed uranium, but the application covers commercial grade UF6 only, as reprocessed UF6 is not used in the USA.

The schedule given by NRC would lead to an NRC certificate of package approval by mid-2019, Daher Nuclear Technologies Chief Operating Officer Franz Hilbert said.

Daher expects to receive a certificate of package approval from France's Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire by December. It then intends to apply to have the certificate validated for use in all applicable countries dealing with UF6.

The transport of nuclear material is a vital link in the nuclear fuel supply chain and is regulated according to standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency. To ensure the safety of workers and the general public, nuclear materials must be transported in appropriate packaging, with shielding to reduce potential radiation exposure. For enriched UF6, the cylinders in which the material is shipped from enrichment plants to fuel fabricators must be transported within a protective structural packaging - or PSP - which provides the material with further protection against impacts, fires, immersion in water and also against any criticality incident. Packages containing UF6 must also be able to withstand further pressure tests, a free drop test, and a thermal test at a temperature of 800°C for 30 minutes.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Tuesday, 04 September 2018
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