(Yicai Global) Dec. 26 -- A prototype nuclear flask that a Chinese company developed for mass production marks a milestone in China's history of advancing spent fuel transportation technology and could shake up the market, which foreign companies have controlled, the Chinese newspaper Technology Daily reported.
China Nuclear Power Engineering Co. designed the flasks, which can hold 21 spent fuel assemblies, and Xi'an Nuclear Equipment Co. will manufacture them.
The flasks are part of a project for making fresh and spent fuel containers that can transport all types of experimental reactor and pressurized water reactor fuels as well as new nuclear fuel for high temperature gas-cooled reactors.
Demand for these special containers is set to surge in the coming years. The volume of spent fuel assemblies installed in Chinese nuclear power plants will grow to more than 70 million tons in 2020 and to over 140 million tons by 2025, per the country's long-term nuclear power development plan.
Spent fuel assemblies removed from reactors at nuclear power plants are first stored in spent fuel pools and then in off-site storage facilities, or treated or disposed of directly at the fuel reprocessing plants.
Nuclear flasks are shipping containers designed for transporting spent fuel assemblies from power plants.