Safety and safeguards by design: Design of a fuel handling device for open-pool research reactors

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



This work focuses on the design, improvements, and manufacturing of a new fuel handling tool for the open-pool 2MW research reactor located at the Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center (RINSC). The reactor pool is 32-feet deep with the top of the core approximately 25 feet under water. The overhead clearance from the surface of the reactor to the roof is approximately 20 feet. Reactor operators use the fuel handling tool to remove and place in-core nuclear fuel and reflector elements, and to rotate the fuel elements to optimize the core configuration for burnup. Because of the pool depth and overhead clearance dimensions, the pole must extend to a length of 40 feet but collapse into a length of 20 feet for transportation inside the building and storage. This paper describes the new design for the fuel hook. The locking hook can latch onto a crossbar handle at the top of the fuel element. Improved features over the previous fuel hook is an adaptable end that allows for the use of interchangeable heads, such as a magnetic head to remove any ferromagnetic objects. Other head attachments may include scoops, small net, and possibly a vacuum head. The university team designed, built, tested, and delivered a versatile fuel handling device with improved design features that meet the specifications desired by the operators at RINSC.

Publication Title

Transactions of the American Nuclear Society