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KAERI to be Awarded by DOE for Joint Research with the U.S. and Spain (August 30)

- In recognition of ‘spent nuclear fuel transport test’ using road, rail and sea routes


The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) is receiving attention for being awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for their successful mock test of transporting spent fuel via various routes, such as road, rail and sea. The research was conducted in cooperation with researchers from the U.S. and Spain.

Dr. Woo Suk Choi and his research team for nuclear waste transport and storage was awarded by the DOE on 29 August for jointly carrying out the ‘spent nuclear fuel complex mode transport test’ with American and Spain research teams.

The research, led by KAERI, also involved Korea Radioactive Waste Agency (KORAD), KEPCO Nuclear Fuel (KNF), Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS) from Korea, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) from the U.S., and Equipos Nucleares (ENSA) from Spain.


The ‘spent fuel complex mode transport test’ was carried out in the U.S. and Spain for 9 months, from April to December last year, with the aim of assessing the vibration, shock and other impact on transport container and spent fuel during transport of spent fuel via road, rail and sea routes.


The team inserted a unit of the mock nuclear fuel assembly in actual Spanish spent fuel transport containers, and transported it via road (on trailer in Spain), sea (via Spanish-Belgian ports to the East Coast of the U.S.), and rail routes (to Colorado, U.S. on rail freight train).


The team acquired data on the impact (vibration, shock) of each route on transport container, internal structure and mock nuclear fuel assembly. The data is expected to play a key role not only in strengthening the safety of transport containers for spent fuel, but also in redesigning the entire transport system.

Also, by conducting joint research with other countries, Korea was able to save on billions of KRW in research cost, while simultaneously strengthening the foundation for international research with nuclear powerhouses Spain and the U.S. in the field of nuclear transport and disposal.


Dr. Choi described the feat as “a result of cooperation with related nuclear institutions in Korea and their active participation in international research,” adding that the results will “be essential in promoting the safety of spent nuclear fuel when transported to storage and disposal facilities.”

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