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NRC CHAIRMAN: SEES 100 TO 300 YEARS TO ‘INDEFINITE’ SPENT FUEL STORAGE

In supplemental comments outlining a proposed Commission initiative for a final update of a waste confidence decision, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko suggested that 300 years of on-site storage might be plausible to deal with spent fuel from commercial nuclear plants.

Jaczko’s new proposal comes at a time the Commission is preparing to also deal with the question of whether to accept the U.S. Department of Energy’s decision to abandon the Yucca Mountain geological repository. The Commission is legally required to issue a waste confidence ruling before any construction of new nuclear reactors can go ahead.

The DOE’s license withdrawal action -– prompted by the Obama’s Administration campaign promise to terminate Yucca -– created the possibility that the failure to produce a waste confidence ruling might unhinge any nuclear new build blossom.

The NRC Chairman  even dropped a hint that on-site storage might continue “indefinitely,” an idea that has not yet entered the waste confidence discussion to date. The full five-member Commission will have to approve anything the chairman proposes.

Jaczko noted that "while I remain confident that we will achieve a safe and environmentally sound means to permanently dispose of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel, I believe that the prudent course of action is to direct the staff to conduct further analysis and update the Waste Confidence findings to account for the possibility of additional, indefinite storage of spent nuclear fuel."

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4 Responses to “NRC CHAIRMAN: SEES 100 TO 300 YEARS TO ‘INDEFINITE’ SPENT FUEL STORAGE”

  1. Charley Haughney Says:

    My, oh my. Wouldn’t it seem best, Mr. Chairman, if we had at our fingertips a thoroughly developed safety basis for concluding that SNF could be safely stored for 60, 100, perhaps 300 years. Even better, perhaps we should have a compelling safety basis for concluding that after up to 300 years of storage, the SNF would be able to meet the requirements for transportation. And while we’re at it, why don’t we collect the SNF at one or a few centralized storage sites that would have the systems needed for any corrective action that might be needed to address non-conforming conditions that might arise in the stored fuel over the next few centuries. The growing number of shutdown plants that will accrue over these time frames might appreciate this sort of safety basis. As would their insurers, their stockholders, their customers, their plant neighbors and their rate commissions.

    Mr, Chairman, can’t we as a nation stand up and be counted upon to provide credible “Waste Confidence?” Please forgive me for being skeptical.

  2. Charley Haughney Says:

    My, oh my. Wouldn’t it seem best, Mr. Chairman, if we had at our fingertips a thoroughly developed safety basis for concluding that SNF could be safely stored for 60, 100, perhaps 300 years. Even better, perhaps we should have a compelling safety basis for concluding that after up to 300 years of storage, the SNF would be able to meet the requirements for transportation. And while we’re at it, why don’t we collect the SNF at one or a few centralized storage sites that would have the systems needed for any corrective action that might be needed to address non-conforming conditions that might arise in the stored fuel over the next few centuries. The growing number of shutdown plants that will accrue over these time frames might appreciate this sort of safety basis. As would their insurers, their stockholders, their customers, their plant neighbors and their rate commissions.

    Mr, Chairman, can’t we as a nation stand up and be counted upon to provide credible “Waste Confidence?” Please forgive me for being skeptical.

  3. Charley Haughney Says:

    My, oh my. Wouldn’t it seem best, Mr. Chairman, if we had at our fingertips a thoroughly developed safety basis for concluding that SNF could be safely stored for 60, 100, perhaps 300 years. Even better, perhaps we should have a compelling safety basis for concluding that after up to 300 years of storage, the SNF would be able to meet the requirements for transportation. And while we’re at it, why don’t we collect the SNF at one or a few centralized storage sites that would have the systems needed for any corrective action that might be needed to address non-conforming conditions that might arise in the stored fuel over the next few centuries. The growing number of shutdown plants that will accrue over these time frames might appreciate this sort of safety basis. As would their insurers, their stockholders, their customers, their plant neighbors and their rate commissions.

    Mr, Chairman, can’t we as a nation stand up and be counted upon to provide credible “Waste Confidence?” Please forgive me for being skeptical.

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