As new fuel shipping canisters arrive in the reactor building, the reactor building crane lifts them to the refueling floor, where the fuel is removed from the canister and inspected for defects. The fuel can then be stored either the new fuel storage area (which is dry) or in the refueling pool, depending upon the needs of the site. Fuel in the new fuel storage area is moved into the fuel pool before refueling begins. To refuel the reactor, the containment vessel lid and the reactor vessel head are removed, the refueling cavity above the reactor vessel is flooded, and the gates between the reactor cavity and fuel pool are removed. The refueling bridge removes one fuel bundle at a time from the reactor and transfers it to the spent fuel storage racks until about a third of the fuel is removed. The process is reversed when fuel is removed from the fuel pool and placed in the reactor. In BWRs, the fuel remains in a vertical position throughout the process.
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, January 20, 2023