Management of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Waste

Since the 1990’s, the federal government has faced tremendous challenges to their obligations to receive and dispose of research, weapons-related, military, and commercial power plant spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level waste (HLW). Holtec Government Services (HGS) brings the application and management of proven commercial sector technology for essentially all forms of SNF and HLW handling, packaging, transport, and storage systems. HGS will deliver proven, U.S. manufactured SNF and HWL canisters, casks, and handling equipment. HGS has the capabilities needed to meet federal sector technical, regulatory, and program needs and to provide compliant management of the HGS federal projects.

HGS’s commercial sector technology is efficiently and quickly adaptable to federal (US DOE-EM) spent fuel, US Navy spent fuel, and US DOE defense HLW inventories.  The technology has over 30 years of commercial industry success and is in extensive domestic and international use.  The technology also has domestic and international regulatory acceptance through the respective national nuclear regulatory agencies.

HGS has the specialized knowledge and experience to adapt the commercial sector SNF and HLW technology to the US DOE and US Navy spent nuclear fuel, GTCC, and defense HLW management needs.  The technology and manufacturing capability of HGS through Holtec International is readily and efficiently adaptable and cost effective.  Its availability with reasonable lead times is positioned to support the federal government’s commitments to the various state governments regarding removal of the states’ respective material inventories. Perhaps the most significant advantage to HGS capabilities is the extensive Licensing experience. The HGS storage, handling and transportation systems are adaptable for nearly any waste form or fuel type through amendments to Certificates of Compliance faster than any firm in the USA.

The physical configurations and nucleonics; radiation shielding and confinement; and structural designs of the canisters, casks, and other system components have sufficiently broad ranges of their controlling parameters to generally require only modest modification to accommodate the unique properties of the federal nuclear materials.

HGS provides the project management and coordination of Holtec International technical and manufacturing activities necessary to adapt the SNF or HLW technology for use in the federal projects’ environments, such as:

  • Provide the principal interface and project management function for federal customers providing services through either HGS direct resources or through a “matrixed management” approach to using Holtec International resources and capabilities (engineering, design, analytical capabilities, manufacturing and field services);
  • Provide and manage the federal programs, procedure, and program infrastructure necessary for execution of technical, manufacturing, and field activities by either HGS or Holtec International resources to meet business, quality, nuclear, construction, and similar related agency-specific program needs. Implement effective and compliant federally based programs for:
    • quality;
    • nuclear safety;
    • radiological safety;
    • environmental protection;
    • occupational health, safety and industrial hygiene;
    • project management and controls (planning scheduling, cost control, earned value);
    • safety conscious work environment;
    • human resources, and,
    • contract assurance
  • Manage the required federal licenses, certification, or other authorizations necessary to support the work.
  • Provide the Holtec focal point for both HGS and Holtec International customer relations activities.

HGS is fully integrated with Holtec International for federal projects.

Holtec International is a world leader in storage and transport technologies for civilian and military waste. Over 100 nuclear plants in 16 countries rely on Holtec’s casks and canisters to store and transport their nuclear waste. In the commercial nuclear industry, they include the whole range of fuel types including Western and Russian-origin fuel. Holtec’s storage systems for high level military waste have been provided to the US Navy.  Our casks and canisters are designed, built and licensed with abundant thermal, structural, radiological and nuclear safety margins that, combined with their configurations make them economically and expeditiously adaptable to federal needs.

Some unique aspects of Holtec’s nuclear waste technology adaptable to the federal agency needs are:

  • Thanks to the patented nanotechnology-based structural and reactivity control competent Material (Metamic HT), our SNF casks have a larger payload and greater heat dissipation capability than their peers in the industry.
  • Patented SNF drying system (see photo below) that is indispensable for drying aluminum- clad and severely water-logged Zirc or stainless clad fuel.

Active USNRC Dockets for Holtec International’s Cask
(High Level Fissile and Non-Fissile Nuclear Waste)

System Name Docket
HI-STORM 100 (Storage) 72-1014
HI-STAR 100 (Storage) 72-1008
HI-STAR 100 (Transportation) 71-9261
HI-STAR 180 (Transportation) 71-9325
HI-STAR 180D (Transportation) 71-9367
HI-STAR 60 (Transportation) 71-9336
HI-STAR 63 (for the Candu reactor) ROK-MOST
HI-STAR 330 (ATB-1T for High Level Non-Fissile Waste) 71-9375
Holtec Quality Assurance Program (for Storage and Transportation Casks and Canisters) 71-0784
HI-STORM FW (Storage) 72-1032
HI-STORE CIS 72-1051
HI-STAR 190 Universal Transport Cask 71-9373
HI-STAR 180L (Transport cask for high burn-up BWR Fuel)
HI-STAR 150 (Light weight transport cask) Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CSN)
HI-STAR 100MB (Medium weight transport cask for Canisterized and bare basket fuel) 71-9378
HI-STAR 80 (Transport) 71-9374


State-of-the-Art Solutions to Managing the Backend of the Nuclear Power Cycle

Please click on the images below for additional information.

Forced Helium Dehydrator

  • The casks are designed with features for double containment necessary for transporting MOx and other plutonium bearing waste forms.
  • Customized cask models include those expressly designed for storing and transporting GTCC, Class C and B waste.
  • Casks designed to store both canisterized (all-welded multi-purpose canister) and “bare” basket contents.
  • Casks for storing and transporting High burn-up and high initial enrichment fuel (such as the fuel used in nuclear powered aircraft carriers and other naval vessels).
  • A superbly engineered set of ancillary and accessory equipment that have established a peerless track-record of error-free fuel loadings having garnered the enviable track record of no NRC cited violation after over 30 years of operation! The motto of Holtec’s fuel loading program is the so-called “Four Zeros” capsulized in the tombstone below.
  • Research reactor fuel, transuranic waste and sterilization capsules such as the Cesium Chloride capsules stored at the Hanford site.
  • A large number of cask models available to choose from to best suit a particular application. The table below lists the USNRC docket of each cask model followed by a gallery of perspective views. The shown casks include both storage-only and dual-purpose casks (storage and transport) as well as the cask for storing non-fissile waste.


The perspective view above illustrates the subterranean storage system for used nuclear fuel and High-Level Waste invented and licensed by Holtec. It is called the HI-STORM UMAX system. The below-ground storage puts the radioactive material in a supremely safe configuration, essentially beyond the reach of extreme environmental phenomena, mendacity of terrorists, or other external events such as aircraft crash.

HI-STORM UMAX is being increasingly adopted by US nuclear plants for on-site storage. Holtec’s proposed consolidated interim storage facility in New Mexico utilizes the HI-STORM UMAX system.


HI-SAFE is storage-only cask designed to store canisterized non-fissile nuclear waste. The waste form may be GTCC, Class C or Class B. The loaded canister is all-welded to protect the environment. The extent of shielding can be varied to meet the host site’s needs.


HI-STORM 100, as shown in the figure, is a storage cask engineered to store used nuclear fuel packaged in a Multi-purpose canister (MPC). Several MPC types to store BWR and PWR canisters in the HI-STORM 100 overpack have been licensed by the NRC. Hundreds of HI-STORM 100 modules are deployed in the US and abroad.  HI-STORM 100 is the designated storage cask for the PFS interim storage facility in Utah. The ASLB hearings in 2005 determined HI-STORM 100 to safely withstand a crashing F-16 fighter plane loaded with fuel.


HI-STORM FW (FW stands for flood and wind resistant) is a high capacity vertical ventilated cask used to store large capacity MPCs of both PWR and BWR genre.  HI-STORM FW is deployed at numerous US plat sites.


HI-STAR 100 is the industry’s first dual purpose (storage and transport) cask. At present, it is limited to transporting canisterized high level waste (used nuclear fuel) only. A short version labelled HI-STAR HB is also licensed by the NRC. Canister is visible in the cutaway perspective view.


HI-STAR 190 is the industry’s most heavily shielded cask capable of transporting every canister type currently in use at US nuclear plants with minimum dose. HI-STAR 190 is available in three lengths; can be used to transport PWR, BWR, VVER and RBMK fuel. It is designed to serve as the work horse for the Consolidated storage facility in New Mexico and its counterpart Central storage facility in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine.  The MPC is visible in the cut away view.


HI-STAR 180 is a dual-purpose cask with the capability to store/transport high burn-up and MOx PWR fuel. This cask does not contain an MPC and uses two independent lids for double containment.

HI-STAR 180 is the first transport cask to use the METAMIC-HT fuel basket to achieve high heat rejection rates. The aggregate permissible heat rejection from the cask is in excess of 32.5 kW. HI-STAR 180 is the only cask in the industry that has been tested for leak tightness after a missile strike emulating a crashing aircraft.

The Metamic-HT basket is visible in the cut-away view.


HI-STAR 180D is a smaller ID and taller version of HI-STAR 180. Like HI-STAR 180, “180D” uses Metamic-HT for its basket to enable high heat rejection rate and a double lid construction to provide double containment.


HI-STAR 330 (also called HI-STAR ATB-1T) is industry’s largest cask for transporting non-fissile waste and activated metal. HI-STAR 330 features a robust stainless-steel body and a heavy lid engineered to provide rapid opening and closing capability to minimize crew dose.

The trunnions in HI-STAR 330 are of collapsible type (a Holtec invention); the cask meets all requirements of 10CFR71 and IAEA standards without an impact limiter package.


HI-STAR 80 has the highest heat rejection capacity of any cask in Holtec’s fleet (>60kW). The cask features a Metamic-HT basket and highly conductive external fins.

The basket is visible in the cut away view.


HI-STAR 60’s loaded weight is approximately 60 tons which makes it the only cask for light water reactor fuel shippable by truck in Holtec’s fleet at this time. It features a stainless-steel fuel basket “poisoned” with Metamic (classic) neutron absorber panels for reactivity control. The storage capacity is 12 PWR assemblies.


HI-STAR 63 is truck weight cask expressly engineered for fuel produced by Canadian-origin reactors. A number of HI-STAR 63 are in service at the Wolsong nuclear plant in Korea.


Transport cask for high burn-up BWR Fuel


Light weight transport cask) Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CSN)


Medium weight transport cask for Canisterized and bare basket fuel.

%d bloggers like this: