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Experience in Using Fills for Spent Nuclear Fuel Waste Packages

The use of other fill materials in waste packages has been investigated by several countries. However, these countries did not consider the use DU fills because they did not have any excess DU. The activities of these foreign programs provides key data for the use of DU fill in the United States.

Spain is considering fill materials to reduce the long-term leakage of certain radionuclides from its waste packages. Canada is considering a fill inside its thin-wall SNF waste packages to help support the outside wall against long-term collapse. The Canadians have conducted major engineering tests and have demonstrated fill techniques with full-scale dummy SNF assemblies and full-scale waste packages. The waste packages were placed in large hydrostatic test chambers that were then tested at high pressures. If there had been any void spaces in the waste packages, the waste package walls would have collapsed. No significant package damage occurred. The Canadian spent nuclear fuel has smaller clearances between fuel rods than the types of spent nuclear fuel used in the United States. Consequently, the successful Canadian demonstration program provides a reasonable level of confidence that it is feasible to fill the void spaces in a waste package with a particulate fill.

Photo of Prototype Canadian Waste Package
Prototype Canadian Waste Package with
Sand Fill and Dummy Spent Nuclear Fuel

Photo of a Hydrostatic Test Chamber
Canadian Hydrostatic Test Chamber for Spent
Nuclear Fuel Waste Package Testing

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Follow the link below to learn more about Fills:

  Additional Information on Fills

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