Sweden has chosen to manage spent fuel rods by direct encapsulation and storage in a deep level repository. Two welding processes are being investigated for the sealing of copper vessels that form the outer barrier of the disposal canisters.

TWI Ltd in the UK has developed Reduced Pressure Electron Beam Welding and Friction Stir Welding for 50mm thick copper. This paper describes some of the investigations and compares the techniques. Over the past 3 years a full-size canister welding machine has been designed and built. Specialised tools have been developed for the welding of thick sections in copper with very encouraging results.

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