London (Nuclear News Flashes)--13 Jul 2001
BNFL says Chapelcross spent fuel fell 83 feet

British Nuclear Fuels plc (BNFL) said today that 12 of the 24 spent fuel elements that fell from a carousel within a fuel discharge machine at the Chapelcross-3 magnox reactor July 5 are now believed to have fallen 83 feet, rather than two feet, and have probably ended up in a waiting flask at the end of the discharge chute. Each element weighs 11.7 kilograms. The 24 spent fuel elements fell during a routine refueling operation when the carousel to which they were attached became dislodged from a grab. Initially, BNFL reported that the carousel and all 24 elements were sitting on closed doors at the top of the discharge chute, still encompassed by the fueling machine. But today, BNFL reported, "a number of fuel elements are not in their expected position." But BNFL said "they are within the normal fuel route," and added, "monitoring has confirmed that there has been no release of radioactivity." Further inspections are under way.