Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Ukraine is nearly out of space for
spent fuel in its cooling ponds. The U.S. Department of Energy is working
with Zaporizhzhya to establish a safe, economically viable alternative
system that uses concrete dry storage casks.
Through the Department's
cooperative efforts, Zaporizhzhya will gain the equipment and expertise to
manufacture 12 storage casks a year. Each cask will be filled with 25
spent fuel assemblies, backfilled with inert helium gas, sealed by remote
control, and transported to a concrete storage pad. The casks provide both
gamma and neutron shielding and have a minimum life of 40 years.
Engineering, the Department's prime contractor for this project, has
delivered a self-propelled transporter to move casks from the loading area
to the storage area. Built by J&R Engineering of Mukwongo, Wisconsin,
under contract to Duke and Sierra Nuclear, the diesel-powered unit is
based on commercially available heavy lift-and-haul transporters. The
transporter is similar to the one used at the Point Beach nuclear power
plant dry storage facility in Wisconsin.
The Zaporizhzhya transporter has a minimum
turning radius of 9.1 meters (30 feet), which enables it to move in tight
spaces and maneuver around obstacles. It has been adapted to lift casks
from the bottom, further increasing its maneuverability in Zaporizhzhya as
relatively narrow corridors. The transporter's 272-tonne (300-ton) lifting
capacity is more than sufficient for the large casks that will be used at
The transporter consists of a U-shaped welded carbon steel
frame and platform with a track propulsion system that straddles and
hydraulically lifts each cask. The lift system uses dual telescopic
lifting beams with integral locking safety systems. A retaining strap
secures the cask to the transporter.
All functional controls are
mounted on a panel at the back of the transporter deck, where the operator
can see the lifting operations while operating the controls. The
transporter moves casks quickly, efficiently and safely.