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Nuclear energy: safety management of spent fuel

Santa María de Garoña Nuclear Power Plant

The strategy for the management of spent nuclear fuel in Spain aims, first and foremost, to guarantee the safety of people and protection of the environment. The first phase involves Dry Fuel Storage, (without the need for an active cooling system), inside a series of casks especially designed for the purpose. These casks are located in the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) located in each Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). The spent fuel will remain here until its later transfer to the Central Spent Fuel Storage Facility (CSFSF), once it becomes operational to house the spent fuel from all the Spanish NPPs.

At present, the spent nuclear fuel of the Santa María de Garoña NPP (Burgos, Spain) is stored in the Spent Fuel Pool (SFP) of the plant. This used fuel will shortly be transferred to the ISFSI which has recently been constructed at the plant, and deposited in the specially designed cask, licensed and manufactured by ENSA. This task is one of the previous phases of the dismantling the plant, which commenced in August 2013, when operations ceased.

The Global Project began when ENRESA, the Spanish entity responsible for the management of radioactive waste, transferred the management of the creation of the ISFSI facility to NUCLENOR, the owners of the Garoña NPP. In 2012, NUCLENOR awarded IDOM the design and technical assistance contracts for the development of the facility. In 2014, construction was approved by the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear – CSN), and in 2016, ENRESA awarded the works to OHL. During October 2017, these works were completed, and now the ISFSI is ready to receive the first cask units.

November 15, 2017


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The challenge

The structural design of the seismic slabs to house the radioactive material containers has been an interesting challenge, specifically because of the stringent technical requirements to be complied with. Moreover, IDOM has designed the modifications required for the double security fence around the perimeter of the ISFSI facility.