IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Another cleanup milestone is in sight as Fluor Idaho prepares to begin transferring spent nuclear fuel from an underwater basin to a dry storage area at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) site.
The project is necessary to meet a milestone with the state to have all spent nuclear fuel transferred from wet to dry storage by 2023. The material will ultimately be moved to an off-site repository.
Spent fuel from Experimental Breeder Reactor Two (EBR II) is currently stored in the Chemical Processing Plant-666 (CPP) basin at the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center. The cleanup plan calls for that fuel to be retrieved, transferred to a shipping cask, loaded onto a tractor trailer, and moved across the INL site to the Radioactive Scrap and Waste Facility at the Materials and Fuel Complex. From there it will be moved over below-ground steel fuel storage liners and lowered into place.
EBR II operated from 1964 until 1994, generating power and conducting power reactor research. Spent fuel from EBR II was transferred to the CPP-666 basin between 1986 to 1999.
As part of its preparation, cleanup crews built a mock-up of the spent fuel line to practice the procedure, using a mobile crane and forklift, even simulating an emergency drill.
Earlier this year, the last of the US Navy's spent nuclear fuel was transferred from the CPP-666 basin to the Naval Reactors Facility for dry storage. The basin is now nearly 94% empty, according to Fluor Idaho officials.