Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility

The fuel removed from nuclear power plants following irradiation of fresh fuel is termed as Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) that may no longer be used in its present form for the generation of electricity. SNF is thermally hot, highly radioactive and potentially harmful, therefore, it needs to be cooled and shielded safely in a storage facility. Nuclear power plants usually utilize wet storage system, as an interim arrangement, for the storage of SNF in on-site spent fuel pools to ensure removal of decay heat. Dry or wet storage system is adopted for long term management of already cooled SNF. In Pakistan, wet storage system, as an interim arrangement and dry storage system for long term management of SNF is being adopted.

Currently, Pakistan has one spent fuel dry storage facility in operation whereas another facility is under construction phase. The first spent fuel dry storage facility for pressurized heavy water reactor at Karachi while the second is for spent fuel of pressurized water reactors at Chashma, Mianwali.

 KANUPP Spent Fuel Dry Storage (KSFDS) Facility

In December 2011, PNRA received the change approval for the Construction of Spent Fuel Dry Storage Building at K-1. PNRA conducted a thorough review and assessment of a number of submissions supporting the licensee request for this purpose. The regulatory process also included a number of safety inspections and meetings with the licensee for resolution of concerns raised by PNRA. After satisfactory conclusion of this regulatory process, the case was approved by PNRA in 2015 for the establishment of KSFDSF. At present, KSFDSF has come into operation and certified casks are being placed in it under regulatory oversight of PNRA.

 CHASHMA Spent Fuel Dry Storage Facility

PAEC has realized the need to establish a dry storage facility at Chashma Nuclear Power Generating Station (CNPGS) and submitted its intent to get its facility licensed from PNRA. In this context, construction license has been granted for construction of spent fuel dry storage facility after site registration as per licensing process. Construction of the facility is in progress at CNGPS Site Chashma.

 Spent Nuclear Fuel Dry Storage Cask

Properly designed dry storage casks are used for long term storage of already cooled SNF. The design of cask with proper shielding provides protection to people and environment from harmful effects of ionizing radiations. The design of such casks needs certification from PNRA. In this context, PNRA has granted design approval certificate to HMC-3 for design and manufacturing of KANUPP spent fuel dry storage cask while design certification of CNPGS spent fuel dry storage cask is in progress.

 KANUPP Spent Nuclear Fuel Dry Storage Cask:

In 2015, PAEC submitted its intention to PNRA for the design and manufacturing of KANUPP Spent Nuclear Fuel Dry Storage Cask. The safety analysis report of the cask has been approved and manufacturing & testing of prototype cask has also been completed. Upon verifying compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements, design approval certificate for spent fuel dry storage cask was awarded in April 2019.

 CNPGS Spent Nuclear Fuel Dry Storage Cask:

In 2017, PAEC has submitted a request for design and manufacturing of dry storage cask for the storage of spent nuclear fuel generated from the operation of NPPs at CNPGS site along with submissions for certification. In this regard, certification process is in progress.