Framatome has introduced the industry’s first encapsulation technology, which prepares damaged fuel rods for dry storage in a protected state underwater.
The process of encapsulation of fuel rods takes place in the spent fuel pool and consists of remote dehydration, drying of the capsule with hot gas, welding of end caps, and ultrasonic inspection of welds. Damaged fuel rods are surrounded by a sealed steel capsule in a dry state, which prevents possible leakage of fuel or radioactive substances into a storage facility. This airtight encapsulation is an important criterion for the possibility of dry temporary storage in accordance with regulatory restrictions.
Initially, this method was used for safe welding and encapsulation of damaged fuel rods under water at the Belgian nuclear power plants Doel 1 and 2. The encapsulation method minimizes the releases of radiation into the working environment and is an advanced industry practice.
According to Framatome