The idea of using casks for interim storage of spent fuel arose at GNS after a very controversial political discussion in 1978, when total passive safety features (including aircraft crash conditions) were required for an above ground spent fuel storage facility. In the meantime, GNS has loaded more than 1000 casks at 25 different storage sites in Germany. GNS cask technology is used in 13 countries. Spent fuel assemblies of PWR, BWR, VVER, RBMK, MTR and THTR as well as vitrified high level waste containers are stored in full metal casks of the CASTOR® type. Also MOX fuel of PWR and BWR has been stored. More than two decades of storage have shown that the basic requirements (safe confinement, criticality safety, sufficient shielding and appropriate heat transfer) have been fulfilled in any case — during normal operation and in case of severe accidents, including aircraft crash. There is no indication of problems arising in the future. Of course, the experience of more than 20 years has resulted in improvements of the cask design. The CASTOR® casks have been thoroughly investigated by many experiments. There have been approx. 50 full and half scale drop tests and a significant number of fire tests, simulations of aircraft crash, investigations with anti tank weapons, and an explosion of a railway tank with liquid gas neighbouring a loaded CASTOR® cask. According to customer and site specific demands, different types of storage facilities are realized in Germany. Firstly, there are facilities for long-term storage, such as large ventilated central storage buildings away from reactor or ventilated storage buildings at the reactor site, ventilated underground tunnels or concrete platforms outside a building. Secondly, there are facilities for temporary storage, where casks have been positioned in horizontal orientation under a ventilated shielding cover outside a building.

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