Ameren begins moving Callaway plant’s nuclear waste to concrete casks
Sometime this week, workers with Ameren Missouri’s Callaway Energy Center will begin moving spent nuclear fuel from a pool to an underground concrete cask.
Officials with Ameren Missouri on Tuesday provided tours of the new dry cask storage facility at the nuclear power plant. The storage has been in the works for four years.
Ameren officials declined to provide the cost of the dry cask storage project and said it was proprietary information.
Shannon Abel, director of engineering projects at the nuclear power plant, said dry cask storage is the industry standard and that it will allow the plant to store the spent nuclear fuel on site until the plant closes in 2044.
The cooling pools that have housed the nuclear waste would otherwise run out of space by 2020, he said. A mix of older and newer spent fuel assemblies will be moved into the dry casks.
Abel said Callaway is one of the last nuclear power plants to implement dry cask storage.
Rick Eastman, Ameren’s legislative representative, said the pools contain 31 years worth of spent nuclear fuel in the form of 1,825 fuel assemblies; the pools have a maximum capacity of 2,329 assemblies. Each fuel assembly contains 361 fuel roads, he said.
Abel said the casks are self-contained and “basically maintenance-free.”
The 48 casks are underground, with only concrete-and-steel lids above the concrete pad at ground level. Each cask can house one canister of spent fuel, which contains 37 fuel assemblies.
The casks are ventilated, with cooling occurring through convection. “There are no moving parts,” Abel said.
The company started moving six canisters of spent fuel from the cooling pools into the casks this week. Crews will move the material about once every three years, Abel said.