Blogging About Consolidated Interim Used Nuclear Fuel Storage

Over at Neutron Bytes, blogger Dan Yurman posted on the national urgency and business opportunity for private companies proposing interim solutions to store used nuclear fuel. These consolidated interim storage facilities (CISF) would be a near-term solution toward the eventual opening of a permanent federal repository.

Why is opening a near-term CISF important? Dan gives both a financial and quantitative answer,

“Meanwhile, the Department of Energy paid out tens of millions in penalties to US nuclear utilities for not taking the spent fuel off their hands which was promised to them on the assumption that Yucca Mountain would be complete. So, all that spent fuel, some 70,000 tonnes of it, is still sitting at the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors waiting for a new home.”

He also describes how decommissioned reactor sites are a priority for moving the so-called “stranded fuel” from those communities,

“Reactor sites with spent fuel already in dry storage would be first in line, so to speak, for using either service. Early customers for either CISF could be the dozen or so sites where nuclear reactors have already been decommissioned such as Maine Yankee. More recently, four nuclear reactors are now entering the decommissioning phase of their life cycle. Two are in California, one is in Wisconsin, and one is in Vermont. Transportation to either site would be by rail.”

A best-case scenario would be for the CISF to complete government licensing and begin operations in time to directly receive used fuel from reactors that are now entering the decommissioning phase, without those reactor sites needing to construct or expand onsite used nuclear fuel storage systems.

The existing WCS site enjoys both community support and plenty of room for expansion as a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for used nuclear fuel. Image: Waste Control Specialists

The existing WCS site enjoys both community support and plenty of room for expansion as a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for used nuclear fuel. Image: Waste Control Specialists

One of the CISF proposals is by a team of companies led by Waste Control Specialists (WCS) in Texas, and includes AREVA Inc. and NAC International. As Dan notes later in his blog post, Texas also recognizes the opportunity in serving the nation’s need for safe used fuel management,

“On the Texas side, the state government has provided support by approval of regulatory agencies for the site to accept LLW from other states. The local governments in west Texas have unanimously approved resolutions of support.”

These are just a few topics from Dan’s post, which also delves into the politics and potential energy value in developing a consolidated interim storage facility. Be sure to read the whole thing and …

Here are some unique aspects about the WCS proposal in Texas we’re supporting:

  • Existing, operating WCS low level nuclear waste (LLW) storage site includes plenty of room for CISF expansion
  • With federal government license approval, WCS can also provide storage of used nuclear fuel
  • Nearly 70% of the U.S. stranded fuel is inside dry casks and storage systems made by WCS team members AREVA TN and NAC, which brings dry fuel storage vendor expertise to the transfer and transportation of the used fuel
  • Strong support for WCS by the local community, and state and federal representatives
  • Direct existing rail access to the WCS site
  • Team includes decades of global used nuclear fuel transportation experience
  • AREVA TN, the global leader in used fuel transportation, makes 200+ shipments safely each year
  • Top 10 FAQs about storing used nuclear fuel