As a result of ENUSA's concern for close and direct monitoring of fuel behaviour under normal operating conditions, since the 1980s we have been developing the area of in-plant services. We coordinate the handling, inspection and repair campaigns in line with refuelling programmes, providing fresh fuel reception and irradiated fuel handling services while supervising at all times the process during refuelling outages.
Our activities include handling of fresh and irradiated fuel, detection of leaking fuel by sipping and ultrasonic testing, visual inspection and control, fuel repair, ultrasonic cleaning, fuel inspection and characterisation, systems for the detection and removal of foreign objects from fuel and other accessible areas, core loading/unloading control and lighting systems, ultrasonic fuel cleaning to remove crude oil deposits from the surface of the rods.
The first services carried out at ENUSA were aimed at checking the fuel's behaviour through inspections and measurements of the fuel's most representative characteristics. For this purpose, we developed, together with Tecnatom, the equipment known as SICOM which, thanks to new updates and innovations, is still used in nuclear power plants today. The SICOM equipment family continues to grow to incorporate new capabilities and to meet the most current needs arising from fuel behaviour monitoring programmes and also from its management as irradiated fuel.
In the 1990s, ENUSA began to provide fuel leakage inspection and fuel repair services, and progressively the entire portfolio of services described in the previous paragraphs. In 1995, we founded the subsidiary ENUSA-ENWESA AIE, which works with PWR fuel, of which ENWESA Operaciones and Westinghouse Technology Services (WTS) are partners. We have also developed specific services for BWR fuel with GENUSA. The current equipment we have developed in collaboration with our technology partners and other Spanish companies contains advanced technological solutions.
In recent years, we have been carrying out campaigns in practically all the Spanish plants, in European plants where we supply fuel, and occasionally in other continents, with campaigns in the Angra (Brazil) and Maanshan (Taiwan) plants. Furthermore, in 2007 we signed an agreement between ENUSA and Tecnatom for the rendering of services in China, a market to which we have already exported our experience, technology and know-how.
As a result of all this experience in the provision of fuel services, at ENUSA we are also prepared to carry out the necessary activities for the appropriate management of irradiated fuel. We are currently participating in different plants where activities are carried out to inspect, prepare and classify fuel assemblies for dry storage. With this commitment, we are also developing the technology and processes necessary to support our customers throughout the fuel cycle.