Spent nuclear fuel has been stored at the DOEL power station in Belgium in dual-purpose metal casks since 1995. The casks were procured from TRANSNUCLEAIRE by SYNATOM to meet the operational demands for on-site dry storage solutions for fuel arising from the four PWR reactors at DOEL. The TN 24 type of cask was chosen and a range of different cask types were developed.

The initial requirement was for dual purpose cask to contain fuel from the DOEL units 3 and 4, these having similar fuel types but different lengths, and thus two new members of the TN 24 family were developed; the TN 24 D and TN 24 XL with capacities of 28 and 24 SFA’s. These casks were licensed as B(U) fissile packagings with approval certificates granted by the French and validated by the Belgium competent authorities for the transport configurations. Both cask designs were also analyzed by TRANSNUCLEAIRE in their storage configurations to ensure that the criteria for safe interim storage could be met.

Since 1995, a total of 18 TN 24 D and TN 24 XL casks have been loaded with spent fuel assemblies with an average burn-up of 40,000 MWd/tU. SYNATOM subsequently decided to purchase further casks for DOEL 3 and 4 fuels with higher enrichments, higher burn-ups and shorter cooling times. TRANSNUCLEAIRE developed the TN 24 DH and TN 24 XLH casks within the similar envelope size and weight limits. The increase in performance was achieved by an in-depth optimization of each design in terms of radiation shielding, heat transfer and criticality safety. This paper shows how this optimization process was undertaken for the TN 24 DH and TN 24 XLH casks, 16 of which have been ordered by SYNATOM. DOEL 1 and 2 units use much shorter PWR fuel and it was decided to ship the fuel to unit 3 with an internal transfer cask because the handling limitations in the DOEL 1 and 2 pool prohibited the loading of a high capacity dual purpose transport/storage cask. The TN 24 SH cask was subsequently designed for DOEL 1 and 2 PWR fuel with a capacity of 37 assemblies and nine of there casks have been ordered by SYNATOM.

The casks are fitted with monitoring devices to detect any change in the performance of the double metal O ring closure system and none of the casks has shown any deterioration in leaktightness. This paper examines the operation experience of loading and storing more than 30 TN 24 dual purpose casks and compares the performance with design expectations.

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