How do you put the fuel down there?
We take the spent fuel assemblies from their current storage location – a cooling pool and/or dry cask storage pad – and place them into canisters which are then filled with a sand-like material and welded shut. The canisters are lowered into the vertical access section of the drillhole and then pushed into the horizontal disposal section using drill pipe, coiled tubing, or wireline with tractors. For retrieval, the process is reversed.
To place the spent nuclear fuel into the disposal canister we will need to transfer it from pools or from dry casks. The transfer of fuel assemblies from pools to dry casks takes place at the reactor using cranes and other equipment. There is considerable experience with the movement and transfer of spent nuclear fuel assemblies. The methods and operations for moving from pool to dry cask can be adapted to moving assemblies from dry cask to our disposal canisters. We could also use mobile hot cells instead of pools for facilities that have been decommissioned and no longer have a cooling pool on site.