The facility will be located in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, an egg-shaped area of about 30 sq km contaminated by the 1986 explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear powerplant, the world’s worst nuclear powerplant accident. The site has not yet been selected, says Joy Russell, Holtec spokeswoman.

Holtec will finance about 90% of the above-ground, vertical-storage facility, which will use the same storage overpacks that the Atomic Safety Licensing Board routinely certifies for use in the U.S. They are composed of concentric, 1-in.-thick shells of carbon steel separated by 27 in. of concrete. Overall, the cylindrical casks are 132.5 in. dia and 230 in. long, weighing 180 tons fully loaded. Holtec’s Pittsburgh office will handle most front-end design, but Holtec expects to select a fabricator for manufacturing in the Ukraine.

“There was never any development of this (storage and transport-canister) technology” by a Ukrainian company, says Stephen Agace, Holtec cask operations manager. Ukraine now ships the spent fuel from its VVER reactors at the South Ukraine, Rovno and Khmelnytsky plants over long distances for storage in Russia at a cost of more than $100 million per year. The utility will be able to save that money after completion of the central storage facility.

New Jersey-based company will build Ukraine’s first central storage facility for spent nuclear fuel produced by that country’s nuclear powerplants. In late December, Holtec International, Marlton, N.J., signed a $150-million contract with state-owned nuclear utility Energoatom to design, license, construct and commission a storage facility by 2008.