February 6 - Nicolas, part of the Transporter Industry International (TII) Group, has developed a self-propelled cask transporter, to transport spent nuclear fuel casks vertically in extreme climate conditions, while keeping mechanical stress on the casks

According to Nicolas, the vehicle has a capacity of 50 tons (45.4 tonnes) and can operate at temperatures as low as -45° C, with special wheels, steel grades, sensors and reinforced heating systems for cabin, engines and electrical installations.

"One of the main challenges was keeping the load vertical without deformation of the cask, despite vibrations and unavoidable minimal bending of the supporting frames. Classic fastening methods lock the load with tensioning systems; the Nicolas cask transporter relies on a pressure system. Also, we can guarantee that corrosion, cold and additional stress due to decontamination processes won't harm the cask transporter," explains Alexis-Pierre Durand, the engineer in charge of the project.

Equipped with four axles, it relies on the technology behind the Nicolas MHD-G2 modular vehicles, therefore its frame is able to support concentrated loads in two different standard sizes.

During operation, the cask transporter reaches a maximum speed of 5 km/h (3.1 mph), and can negotiate slopes and narrow turns.