Upgrading of temporary storage facilities

Status: in progress
Duration: 2019 - 2028 

The project requires the upgrading of the current three temporary storage facilities for radioactive waste present at the Caorso plant, to bring them up to the new safety standards.

In particular, for the two ERSBA1 and ERSBA2 (Low-Level Waste Buildings 1 and 2) storage facilities the demolition and complete reconstruction will be carried out, while in the case of ERSMA (Medium-Level Solid Waste Building) the upgrading requires the demolition of the internal parts alone. The three storage facilities will be equipped with new mechanical handling systems through the installation of overhead cranes.

The construction of the new ERSBA 2 temporary storage facility was completed. This storage facility will house, among other things, radioactive waste from the dismantling of the reactor building systems and components.

The civil works mainly involved the structural demolition of the roof, concrete walls and foundations, which was followed by the construction of the new storage facility (foundation, structures in elevation and roof). After completing the civil works, two overhead cranes were installed to handle the manufactured items and other system components. After successful testing, the authorisation for commissioning was obtained from the ISIN Regulatory Body on 23 October 2023.

The commissioning of ERSBA 2 is preparatory to the return to the site of final manufactured items from the incineration of resins and sludge. The upgrading of the ERSBA 1 storage facility will be carried out in the same way as with ERSBA 2.

Upgrading activities at the ERSMA storage facility began with the removal from all shielded cells of the drums containing radioactive resins and sludge produced during the plant's operation which had been stored there in the past. In this regard, in 2018 a new machine was built and installed in the ERSMA storage facility, enabling, by remote control, the extraction of radioactive drums, including those that were most difficult to recover due to their condition or positioning.

The contracting process for the upgrading works was formalised in 2021, while in December 2022 approval of the Detailed Project was obtained from the Italian National Inspectorate for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ISIN). In May 2023, following the completion of the preliminary verification of the executive demolition design (PED), pursuant to Art. 26 of Italian Legislative Decree No.50/2016, the handover of the areas and works took place.

Once the installation of the Waste Treatment Station inside the turbine building and the upgrading of at least one temporary storage facility have been completed, dismantling operations on the systems and components of the reactor building can begin.

The total planned duration of the activities is 8 years (2019 - 2028).