NRC Dialogue: Nearly 50 Years of Safe U.S. Used Nuclear Fuel Transport and Storage

AREVA employees’ red shirts were a visual show of support in favor of nuclear energy at the NRC meeting in Charlotte.

AREVA employees’ red shirts were a visual show of support in favor of nuclear energy at the NRC meeting in Charlotte.

When you’re passionate about something called into question, you show up and speak out to ensure your opinion is heard. Sixty AREVA employees did just that yesterday evening as part of the 200 attendees at the NRC “Waste Confidence” public meeting in Charlotte, NC.

On behalf of their fellow red-shirted employees, seven AREVA employees stepped to the microphone to speak about their personal commitment to safe nuclear energy operations, their high skill level honed from continuous training, and their confidence in the advanced technologies that currently assure safe used nuclear fuel management in the United States. Each person spoke from the heart, and gave an expert opinion from years of personal experience working inside the U.S. nuclear energy industry.

Vic Fregonese, responsible for AREVA’s Safety and Quality in the U.S. Region, said, “I have worked in the U.S. Nuclear Power Industry for more than 30 years.  I have worked in both the utility and supplier sectors of this business.  During that time I have witnessed our industry continue to be a safe, secure, and environmentally sound source of electricity supply to our nation.  Nuclear energy provides an emissions-free, domestic source of base load electricity generation, and creates thousands of jobs for our citizens … Safety has been, and is, our highest priority.”

Mechanical engineer Frank Barilla focused his comments on used nuclear fuel, saying it “has been stored safely for decades.  The technology is mature and well understood. Other countries such as France, Finland, and Sweden have solved this problem, and are putting geological repositories into place.”

NAYGN chapter officer and chemical engineer Matt Cagnetta stated, “I assert that this country cannot sustain its energy needs, reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by any significant factor, and continue to secure the low cost of electricity that consumers and industries enjoy without drawing from nuclear power. The many available facts and my personal experience with respect to nuclear design, licensing, maintenance, research and development, and advocacy bolster this conclusion.”

AREVA employees believe nuclear energy should serve as the solid foundation for building America’s clean energy portfolio. We have nearly 50 years’ experience in the U.S. safely removing, transporting and storing used nuclear fuel. We understand and advance the robust technology and processes needed to safely manage this unique material.

And it is from this experienced perspective that we support with confidence the proven and safe management of used nuclear fuel in the United States. The technological side of the question has been demonstrated as capable over decades of operations, and we support the NRC in its timely resolution of Waste Confidence rulemaking.