SeAH Besteel becomes first S. Korean company to deliver spent nuclear fuel transport casks

By Lim Chang-won Posted : March 7, 2022, 14:56 Updated : March 7, 2022, 14:56

[Courtesy of SeAH Besteel ]

SEOUL -- SeAH Besteel, a special steel producer in South Korea, will deliver the first shipment of three spent nuclear fuel transport casks to a U.S. energy company through Orano TN, an American provider of total system solutions for used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management.   

SeAH Besteel became the first South Korean company to export spent nuclear fuel transport casks. Since it received an order from Orano TN in September 2019, SeAH Bestee has established a mass production system by securing technical reliability such as product design, assembly, and heat transfer tests in line with international standards. 

Starting with its first delivery, SeAH Besteel said it would actively respond to the rapidly increasing demand in domestic and global nuclear dismantling markets. "Through the first delivery of spent nuclear fuel transport and storage casks, our manufacturing technology has been recognized in the U.S. nuclear power plant market, which requires strict delivery standards," an unnamed SeAH Besteel official said in a statement on March 7. 

As Orano's partner for the development of high-quality casks, the South Korean company verified its technology by participating in a domestic project to provide casks to Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), the state-run operator of nuclear power plants. 

President Moon Jae-in has unveiled a new energy roadmap to replace fossil-fueled power plants with clean and renewable energy sources. The life cycle of existing reactors will not be extended to decrease the number of nuclear power plants from 24 to 14 in 2038. However, South Korea has no experience in dismantling nuclear power plants.

Government data released in 2018 showed that South Korea needs a total cost of some 100.6 trillion won to seal reactors and manage spent fuel and radioactive waste. However, there has been no clear answer from policymakers to address concerns about nuclear waste and the management of spent fuel, which have been a stringent issue because Washington refused to revise a 2015 accord that has effectively restricted the development of reprocessing facilities to acquire enriched uranium as fuel.

South Korea has no experience in dismantling nuclear power plants. The state-run Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) proposed cooperation with TENEX and other Russian bodies to secure technology related to the decommissioning of nuclear and radiation hazardous facilities. TENEX is a key Russian organization in nuclear uranium conversion, enrichment services and spent fuel and radioactive waste management.

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