The Transportation of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste

A Systematic Basis for Planning and Management at the National, Regional, and Community Levels

Prepared By
Planning Information Corporation
Denver, Colorado
September, 1996

6.   Cask Options

Rail Transport Casks

Several casks are potentially available for rail shipment of SNF or HLW, some of which may also be used for above-ground storage of these materials:

Dry Storage of Canistered Spent Fuel

Several designs for dry storage of canistered spent fuel have been approved by NRC. In these designs, spent fuel canisters are loaded and sealed in an operating spent fuel pool, then inserted into a nearby concrete or metal facility for onsite storage. The Electric Power Research Institute is currently developing a "dry transfer" facility, by which the sealed canisters could be transferred to a transport cask without return to a spent fuel pool. If successful, dry transfer could enable certain spent fuel pools to be shut down, even while spent fuel remains onsite in dry storage. Dry storage designs include:

Legal-Weight Truck Transport Casks

Several designs are potentially available for legal-weight truck shipment of SNF and HLW. In contrast to dry storage casks and recently-designed rail casks, legal-weight truck casks are designed to transport uncanistered assemblies—meaning that, on its arrival at its destination, the cask must be placed in a spent fuel pool or hot cell, where the assemblies are removed for pool storage or canistered for dry storage.

Transport Cask Options: This Assessment

Note that, with the exception of the standard legal-weight truck transport casks, none of the above cask options are licensed by NRC, in production, or currently-available for delivery and use. The GA-4/9 cask design is in review in NRC, but, even if it is licensed, its production is uncertain. Despite considerable DOE investment in the 1990's, the designs for the MPC-75 and 125 casks are conceptual, and have not yet been submitted to NRC for licensing.

This assessment considers the high-capacity and standard capacity truck casks as alternatives for legal-weight truck transport. We estimate truck shipments using either cask, but do not attempt to estimate the mix of high and standard capacity casks that could be used in legal-weight truck shipments.*

* Map presentation of annual cask shipments (Sections 16-20) assume the use of standard capacity legal-weight trucks in the "current capabilities" scenario, and the high-capacity, legal weight truck cask in the "MPC base case" and "maximum rail" transportation choice scenarios.

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