Allocation of spent nuclear fuel transport casks

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The selection of the form of spent nuclear fuel disposition, currently under debate, will precipitate an immediate requirement for spent-fuel transport regardless of the disposition alternative chosen. In this study, a constrained transportation model of the spent fuel cask scheduling problem is formulated with the objective of determining the minimum number of casks required to meet a fixed transport schedule. An iterative search procedure is employed to determine schedules which minimize cask idle time for each required spent fuel cask.

The formulated model and the iterative search procedure are applied to a reference case to demonstrate their utility. An economic analysis of the results was performed to compare the truck and rail transport modes. Results indicate a substantial savings when rail transport is employed. An economic comparison of the cask lease and cask purchase options indicates that cask purchase is preferable for the 23-year planning horizon.