How is irradiated fuel transferred from the pool to the CANSTOR modules?

After spending about seven years in the spent fuel pool, irradiated fuel is transferred to storage modules at the site of the nuclear plant.

At Gentilly-2, the spent uranium bundles are removed from the pool and placed in baskets, each of which can contain 60 bundles. The baskets are drained, dried and welded. They are then transported in a transfer cask to the storage module, where they are stacked in canisters. The shielded lids of the canisters are welded to make them leak-tight.

What is the service life of a CANSTOR module?

CANSTOR modules are designed and built to last 50 years. If needed, the CANSTOR lifetime could be extended for 100 years with the storage module aging management program. The program covers monitoring, inspection, and corrective and preventive maintenance of the CANSTOR modules.

How can you be sure the CANSTOR modules will be safe in the coming years?

CANSTOR modules are designed and built to withstand all types of events, whether natural or man-made. This ensures the safety of the public and Hydro-Québec employees.

Hydro-Québec has two programs for maintaining and confirming the integrity of the CANSTOR modules for the years to come and for ensuring the safety of its employees and the public:

  • The aging management program, which covers monitoring, inspection and maintenance;
  • The radiological monitoring program, which monitors the integrity and leak tightness of the modules.

Why are these CANSTOR modules needed?

The new CANSTOR modules (Nos. 10 and 11) are needed to house the irradiated fuel removed from the reactor when it was shut down in December 2012.

How many fuel bundles are stored at the Gentilly-2 site?

At the end of 2015, the nine CANSTOR modules contained more than 101,000 fuel bundles. Once the two new modules have been added, close to 130,000 bundles will be in safe storage at the Gentilly-2 site.

What does "CANSTOR" stand for?

CANSTOR stands for CANDU Storage, and CANDU means Canada Deuterium Uranium. Gentilly-2 nuclear plant used deuterium oxide (heavy water) and natural uranium.

How long will the nuclear waste remain on the site?

The waste will be stored inside the solid radioactive waste management facility (SRWMF), phases 1 and 2. As for the irradiated fuel bundles, they will be transferred to the CANSTOR modules after spending about seven years in the spent fuel pool. Their transfer to permanent storage is expected to begin around 2050 and should be completed by about 2064, as recommended by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO). To find out more:

Will the Gentilly-2 site be decontaminated and restored to its natural state?

Site restoration will take place at the end of the dismantlement (around 2066).

See also