Columbia, Md.-based Transnuclear has developed a training facility in Aiken, S.C., to help workers become proficient in transferring and loading fuel from wet pools to dry-cask storage.

The training facility, completed in 2012, is part of Transnuclear's NUHOMS University program, which works with contractors involved in fuel transfers at nuclear facilities and utilities. The facility replicates the equipment and situations workers would encounter on a typical loading campaign.

Approximately 40 workers have graduated from one of the program's five-week training sessions, and another 30 have come to the facility for specific training tailored for utilities. "We've even sent engineers through a two- or three-day session to see what they're building and why it's important to design and build it the way they do," says Michael McMahon, president and CEO of Transnuclear.

The facility is the only one of its kind in the U.S. "If you think of post-Fukushima [concerns], there was a huge emphasis on used nuclear fuel, and our customers recognized that this [work] has to be done absolutely error-free," McMahon adds.