Nuclear packaging approved by NRC

Cooling towers at tulip fiel

Orano has obtained transport approval from the American safety authority, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for its spent fuel packaging. This approval is an essential step for continued commercial and industrial developments for the benefit of customers in the United States.

Text by Orano Group

The TN Eagle is Orano’s latest generation packaging model, for the transport and dry storage of spent fuel for nuclear power plants around the world (Europe, United States, Asia). With an innovative design and modular structure, this packaging meets the different needs of power plant operators by improving safety and competitiveness.
While the forged monobloc body of the container and the shielding rings are made from carbon steel, the rest of the container is stainless steel. The primary and secondary lids are made of martensitic stainless steel; the orifice cover plate of the primary lid and secondary lid are made of austenitic ferritic stainless steel; and for the handling ring martensitic stainless steel may be used.

Rapid approval

The packaging was approved in 2020 by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) in less than a year, in accordance with the latest regulations from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), after having undergone a rigorous testing phase to demonstrate its robustness and resistance to extreme transport conditions. For the United States, the format for storing spent fuel in canisters meant adapting the TN Eagle’s design.

The TN Eagle is constructed in fully automated manufacturing lines without the use of welding.
The TN Eagle is constructed in fully automated manufacturing lines without the use of welding.

The production of the TN Eagle is based on manufacturing processes that are technological breakthroughs. The packaging is assembled in half the time of equivalent Orano models due to fully automated manufacturing lines and without the use of welding. Several models of the TN Eagle have been manufactured, confirming the technical feasibility of the processes.
At the beginning of February 2023, Orano launched the construction of the new TN Eagle 4.0 manufacturing factory, the TN Eagle Factory, with the support of the France Relance investment fund. Located at the port of Cherbourg, this new production unit will make it possible to better manage the growing number of orders for the TN Eagle in Europe, Asia and the United States. Its commissioning is planned for 2024.
“NRC approval is a key step allowing us to continue our developments in the transport of used nuclear fuel in the United States. The result of the innovative design of the Orano teams allows us to divide the number of transport packaging parts by ten and significantly reduce manufacturing times while increasing safety and competitiveness. The TN Eagle is a real technological breakthrough compared to other models on the market,” commended Frédéric de Agostini, Senior Executive Vice President of the Nuclear Packages & Services activities.

About Orano

As an international operator in the field of nuclear materials, Orano delivers solutions to address present and future global energy and health challenges. It offers customers high value-added products and services throughout the entire fuel cycle. The Orano group employees 17,000 staff around the world.

About this Tech Article

This tech article appeared in Stainless Steel World, January/February 2024 magazine. To read many more articles like these on an (almost) monthly basis, subscribe to our magazine (available in print and digital format) – SUBSCRIPTIONS TO OUR DIGITAL VERSION ARE NOW FREE.

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