Argonne National Laboratory
Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors
Nuclear Engineering Division at Argonne
U.S. Department of Energy

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Abstracts and Available Papers Presented at the
2000 International RERTR Meeting

Pre-shipment Preparations at the Savannah River Site
WSRC’s Technical Basis to support DOE’s Approval to Ship

Jay E. Thomas, Donald W. Bickley, and E. Ray Conatser
Westinghouse Savannah River Company (WSRC)


In the first four years of the Foreign Research Reactor (FRR) Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) Return Program following resumption of the SNF return program with the DOE-EIS ROD in May 1996, 13 shipments involving 77 casks with over 2,600 assemblies have been safely received and stored at the Savannah River Site (SRS). Each fuel type has gone through a rigorous pre-shipment preparation process that includes fuel characterization, criticality safety reviews, and operational reviews, culminating in the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) authorization to ship.

Ideally, the authorization to ship process should begin two years in advance of the fuel receipt with an agreement between the Department of Energy – Head Quarters (DOE-HQ) and the research reactor government on the conditions and protocol for the spent nuclear fuel return, with a target of DOE shipment authorization at least two months before facility loading. A visit by representatives from the Department of Energy – Savannah River (DOE-SR) and Westinghouse Savannah River Company (WSRC), DOE’s Management & Operations (M&O) Contractor for the SRS, to the research reactor facility is then scheduled for the purpose of finalizing contractual arrangements (DOE-SR), facility assessments, and initial fuel inspections. An extensive effort is initiated at this time to characterize the fuel in a standard format as identified in the Appendix A attachment to the contract. The Appendix A must be finalized in an accurate and timely manner because it serves as the base reference document for WSRC and other involved stakeholders such as the cask owners and the competent authorities throughout the approval process.

With the approval of the Appendix A, criticality safety reviews are initiated to evaluate the unloading and storage configurations. Operational reviews are conducted to allow for necessary adaptation of fuel handling facilities, procedures, and training. WSRC has proceduralized this process, ‘Certification to Receive and Store’, to provide a disciplined method for ensuring that all of the pre-shipment receipt preparations have been completed.

This paper will provide a detailed description of each of the pre-shipment process steps WSRC performs to produce the technical basis for approving the receipt and storage of spent nuclear fuel at the Savannah River Site. It is intended to be a guide to reactor operators who plan on returning “U.S. origin” SNF and to emphasize the need for accurate and timely completion of pre-shipment activities.

PDF version available
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Mr. Jay E. Thomas
Off-Site Receipts-Coordinator
WSRC-Savannah River Site
Building 707-C, Room 295
Aiken, SC 29808 USA
Phone:  (803) 557-6402
Fax:      (803) 557-9642

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Last modified on July 29, 2008 11:34 +0200