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Casks for High Level Nuclear Waste


Specific Objectives:
The following three tasks are identified for 2003: Participation in and contribution to Swedish programme for Canister Design (KBS-3) using probabilistic methodology. Mapping of ongoing R&D activities in the design of canisters and casks for storage of spent fuel and waste. Preliminary material characterization and micro-structural analysis of cast iron from manufactured canisters. This work will be performed at JRC and include tensile tests and fracture tests.

Sensitivity analysis to assess the effect of scatter in material properties for failure probability. This will use probabilistic methods. Exploratory studies of applicability of different NDE methods for the canisters. The results will form the basis for a strategy for design and acceptance criteria and for the development of a more detailed research programme.

Anticipated milestones and schedule:
1. Mapping of ongoing R&D in canister design: April 2003;
2. Procurement of material and establishment of testing matrix: May 2003;
3. Submission of IP and/or NoE proposal with IE participation: May 2003;
4. Outline of Strategy for design criteria and non-destructive evaluation and detailed research plan for IE: Dec. 2003;
5. Assessment of Swedish programme for canister design probabilistic analysis.
Planned Deliverables:
1. Mapping of ongoing R&D activities in the design of canisters and casks for storage of spent fuel and waste (Brief overview Report);
2. Material procurement and characterisation and testing of cast iron for canisters performed at JRC (Test Report) Preliminary probabilistic analysis of material scatter and its impact on failure probability (Analysis Report);
3. Exploratory study on NDE techniques for canister cast iron (Technical Report);
4. Strategy for design and acceptance criteria for canisters and recommendations for the IE programme addressing design and acceptance criteria for canisters, in collaboration with major actors in the field. (Detailed Project Proposal) D5: IE contribution to design of canisters by KBS-3 methodology based on probabilistic methodology (Interim report in 2003 together with Swedish partners. Final Report expected early 2004).
Summary of the Action:
The main alternatives for managing spent nuclear fuel and waste are processing (with or without transmutation) or direct deep disposal. The objective of this action is to promote a European methodology and establish commonly accepted design criteria for casks for long-term disposal of high-level nuclear fuel waste that should maintain their function for 100 000 years. The canisters must be designed to have sufficient safety margins to guarantee their structural integrity and functioning against loads that may occur under handling and the final long-term deposition. To this end, acceptance criteria for defects in the canister materials, welds and seals need to be defined. Specific issues include: Establishment of relevant load cases; Establishment of damage mechanisms and critical defect size for prescribed load cases; Manufacturing control to fabricate canisters with defined bounds for material properties and flaw distribution; Development of NDE methods for detection of flaw distributions and material properties; and Application of probabilistic and deterministic analysis methods to derive design criteria with prescribed safety margins. The detailed work plan of SAFE-CASK over FP6 will be defined in collaboration with the main actors in the fiels in order to optimise the contribution and provide added value at a European level. In the frame of ERA, the Institute of Energy (IE) has already initiated a discussion with various national organisations, in particular the Swedish ones, for close collaboration and to access the state of the art. As an essential and integrated part of SAFE-CASK, IE will participate in the Swedish programme for design of canisters with the KBS-3 methodology.

The detailed IE contribution will be decided in January 2003. Furthermore, IE intends to actively participate in appropriate European Networks and integrated projects and the IE will take an active role in promoting organizations from candidate countries. Rationale Safe and long-term management of high level nuclear waste is extremely important to ensure that individuals, society and environment are protected from harmful effects of ionising radiation. This international consensus is set out in the "International Joint Convention of the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management". The Safe-Cask action will provide underpinning research that will assist the Commission to take up its role as signatory of the Convention and will sustain the research directly linked to the articles 4 (general safety requirements) and 10 (disposal of spent fuel). Direct disposal and encapsulation of fuel and waste in canisters is the main strategy for waste management in many countries. The reprocessing alternative generally also requires encapsulation and disposal of the reprocessed products. To maintain the nuclear option open, it is imperative to arrive at international consensus on best practice for design and management of canisters. JRC's independent status puts it in a good position to take an initiative and provide support for other DGs in this area, particularly in view of the Commission joining the above-mentioned Convention. To achieve this JRC will exploit its nuclear structural integrity experience to build up competencies in selected topics and pursue active involvement in the relevant fora.

Funding Scheme

JRC - Joint Research Centre research


Institute for Energy
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