Friday, May 16, 2014

Moving Used Fuel to Dry Casks at Columbia Generating Station

A few words about today's video.

First, today is Friday, which is a good day for a video.

Second, Vermont Yankee will soon request permission to build more dry cask storage facilities.  (Vermont Yankee to Apply for Second Pad to Hold Dry Casks). This makes today a good day for a dry cask storage video.

Third, I recently visited Columbia Generating Station, in Richland Washington.  As I wrote earlier this month:  "I am on travel right now. I am currently in a town that has a lovely park: Leslie Groves Park. Guess the town."

The town is Richland Washington, and the people at Columbia Generating Station were wonderful hosts.  I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the station and taking a tour of the plant.   Therefore, today is a good day for a Columbia Generating Station dry cask storage video.



jimwg said...

Very good.

My only two beefs about nuclear industry flicks like this is that it should be stressed more that the sheer massiveness of the casks are their own security deterrence against terrorists, who aren't exactly going to crash the gates and tuck one under their arm and scurry away. I would've liked a LOT more stress that there's still a lot of useful fuel bottled up in that "waste". A great perspective lesson about the amount being generated should be compared to the mountainous city dumps New Yorkers or Bostonian drive by on their interstates.

James Greenidge
Queens NY

Robert Hargraves said...

Are the nuclear fuel storage casks the same for all nuclear power plants?

Is the intent to move the entire cask to Yucca or wherever, or must the fuel assemblies be removed and repackaged for shipping?

Meredith Angwin said...


I think the casks are basically the same, though of course they will differ because different bundles are longer or whatever.

That is a very interesting question about moving them to Yucca. I don't know the answer. I think the casks could be moved by train, or the fuel could be repacked into traveling casks. The French move used fuel to a central fuel pool, and their casks travel by train. Their fuel is fresher and hotter when moved, and the casks look like porcupines, in order to shed heat.

Margaret said...


Cask design is essentially identical. The bundle size is different between BWR and PWR. They are the same length, but PWR fuel is about 4x the area. So there may be small differences in the rack inside the cask holding fuel in place.

Cask specifications were specifically chosen to allow the casks to be transported to and stored in Yucca Mountain with no additional "re-casking".

Meredith Angwin said...

Thank you, Margaret!