Transport Services for Foreign Spent Fuel

Experience

Acceptance of spent fuel from foreign research reactors is an important element of the United States (U.S.) Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors (RERTR) program, a key nonproliferation initiative to minimize and eventually eliminate the use of high enriched uranium in civilian reactor programs worldwide. Edlow International Company has played a vital role in this program, managing the first shipment of spent fuel in 1963 under the Atoms for Peace program, and supporting the U.S. "Off-Site Fuels Policy" through both commercial and Department of Energy (DOE) contracts.

Edlow International is the foremost authority on the technical, political, environmental, and regulatory aspects of managing international transportation logistics for spent fuel shipments to the U.S. Our leadership in this area is demonstrated by our success in returning spent fuel to the United States from research reactors located in bothh high-income and other than high income countries. We have successfully managed hundreds of spent fuel shipments, including a number of critical shipments of U.S.-origin fuel from Greece, Colombia, and Chile. Edlow International has been selected by DOE to continue carrying out the current RERTR program, and we are actively engaged to manage the return of spent fuel from countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

Services

Edlow International provides services that cover the full range of packaging, transport, regulatory, and public relations concerns associated with international spent fuel shipments. These services include:

  • Providing preshipment assessments of foreign research reactor sites and determining program management and planning for individual shipments;
  • Managing arrangements for commercial or chartered ocean vessels, airliners, trucks, or rail cars to transport spent fuel;
  • Obtaining regulatory approvals for spent fuel packages, and assisting with design and procurement of specialized equipment as needed;
  • Handling all required documentation, including import and export licenses, in conjunction with applicable national and international regulations;
  • Coordinating all transportation logistics between ocean carriers, port authorities, customs services, inland carriers, and U.S. government authorities, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Departments of Transportation and Energy;
  • Adjusting to unusual circumstances to guarantee that difficult questions of logistics and international protocol are successfully resolved;
  • Providing for the physical protection of the material throughout the entire transport process;
  • Arranging for loss and damage and nuclear liability insurance.

Specialized Issues

Coordination:
Edlow International coordinates with the Department of Energy and other U.S. Government agencies to assist in the scheduling of spent fuel shipments from foreign countries, taking into account factors such as U.S. non-proliferation concerns, capacity at each reactor site, regional diversification, equity between developed and developing countries, national regulations, and availability of transport vessels and spent fuel casks. We initiate direct communication with foreign reactor operators to make specific arrangements for a particular shipment, and we successfully and effectively integrate shipments from different countries.

Transport Arrangements:
Edlow International has established an extensive global network of carriers which allows us to identify the most qualified, secure, and cost-effective services available for each spent fuel shipment. Where applicable, Edlow International arranges for the use of vessels meeting the requirements of the International Maritime Organization's Irradiated Nuclear Fuels Code. Edlow International provides for all physical protection requirements and escort services necessary for individual shipments. We have also purchased and refurbished a railroad caboose, specifically for use by escort personnel who are required to accompany rail shipments of spent fuel within the United States.

Political Concerns:
International transportation of spent fuel is a politically sensitive subject. Edlow International fully supports the return of U.S.-origin spent fuel to the United States and attempts to minimize any potential impediments to the timely and safe movement of this material. Edlow International also collaborates with the U.S. Department of Energy, as it has done for many projects, toward this end.

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