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Spent fuel FAQs

* The Nuclear Regulatory Commission authorizes dry casks as safe for the storage of nuclear fuel for 120 years. The nation’s nuclear sites began installing dry casks in 1987 and “there have been no significant problems with them at any of the sites,” said Tom Kauffman, a spokesman at the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry group. [Source: AP, "Millstone owner seeks to increase nuclear waste storage capacity", July 4, 2012]

* As of December 2011, more than 67,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel (SNF), in more than 170,000 assemblies, is stored at 77 sites (including 4 Department of Energy facilities) in the US. At present rate, roughly 2,000 metric tons of newly spent fuel is added to the inventory each year. [Source: Congressional Research Service report R42513, May 16, 2012]

* USA nuclear power companies currently store 50,000 tons of spent fuel at 72 sites in 33 states. [Source: US General Accounting Office, "SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL: Options Exist to Further Enhance Security", Report No. GAO-03-426, July 2003]

* The total cost of the repository program is estimated above $58 billion, if it is able to overcome numerous technical, political, financial and legal challenges and get a burial complex built by DOE's stated goal of 2010. [Source: Steve Tetreault (Stephens Washington Bureau), "Major Yucca contract awarded: $29.7 million to design robotics to handle packages of nuclear waste", Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 10, 2003]

* Overview of proposed spent fuel storage project at Skull Valley

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Spent fuel news

April 15, 2013

* [npp-US-spent fuel pools] Spent fuel pools - NRC may issue draft generic communication re degradation of neutron-absorbing material mid-2013, nuclear.com info nugget

March 1, 2013

* [npp-US-NRC;Congress;spentfuel;filtered vents;n-biz;counterproliferation] NEI's Fertel discusses prospects for waste storage legislation, new NRC rules, E&ETV (thanx Nevada state ANP)
* Fertel: ... half the Congress hasn't been in their job for more than six years, so educating on nuclear waste is a good thing
* Fertel: ... we're waiting to see what the court rules. Right now, Yucca Mountain is the law of the land, so we would hope that we could do something constructive, like finish licensing on Yucca, and see where that goes
* Fertel: When we've looked at the cost-benefit evaluations that the NRC does, generally, they are orders of magnitude off. They're much lower than what it really costs us to do.
* Fertel: ... filtered vents. Our position, based upon a lot of technical evaluations that have been done over the last ten months, is that that's a case by case determination. It may be necessary in some places, it may not in others, because we can get what we want by basically filtering within containment. So we're not against filtering. It's how you achieve it.
* Monica Trauzzi: What should the U.S. be doing, the U.S. nuclear industry be doing about the growing demand for nuclear internationally?
Marv Fertel: That's where right now it's very important for the US to be a player. Most, I mean, we're building 71 or 72 units right now. There's, you know, another 160. The Department of Commerce estimates that there's about three-quarters of $1 trillion worth of business over the next ten years. So every billion dollars is between 5,000 and 10,000 jobs here in America. So getting our vendors, our suppliers, to be able to work there is very important. Beyond that, having American technology there, it's not only the safest technology, but we bring with it our safety culture, which is critical, and we bring with it basically feet, eyes on the ground, feet on the floor, looking at things from a nonproliferation standpoint. So getting the government to work with the industry and governments overseas on what we call 123 agreements, which are agreements for cooperation, getting our export regime to be more effective is very important, and we're seeing the government try and do that with us.

* [npp-US-spent fuel] Taking a Fresh Look at Nuclear Waste, Matthew L. Wald, The New York Times/Green blog, Feb 28 (via Nuclear Energy Institute email)
NEI titled their description of this story as "New book offers different insight about U.S. used fuel disposal". Here's how NEI characterized the story: "Human factors have made the issue of used nuclear fuel disposal in the U.S. hard to deal with, according to authors William and Rosemarie Alley. Those include 'unrealistic demands for earth-science predictions far into the future, eroding confidence in government and institutions, confusion about which 'experts' to trust, and the ever-present NIMS [not-in-my-state] and Nimby [not in my backyard],' they write."

* [npp-US-spent fuel-Idaho] Watchdog: Idaho could be dump for nuclear waste; Snake River Alliance warns about spent fuel coming into the state, Terry Smith, Idaho Mountain Express (thanx Nevada state ANP)
There are already rumblings in the state that hosting a commercial spent-fuel storage site, ostensibly at the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho, could become a "gigantic industrial opportunity." The Idaho Statesman reported on Nov. 26 that government and business leaders in eastern Idaho are now urging that the state could become an interim storage site for at least some of the spent fuel. Also, a report issued in February from Gov. Butch Otter's Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission leaves the door open for changes to a "1995 Settlement Agreement" that banned commercial spent fuel from being sent to Idaho. The report stopped short of recommending that Idaho offer itself up as a spent-fuel storage site, perhaps at the behest of Otter who has said loud and clear that Idaho will not become another Yucca Mountain.

* [npp-US-spent fuel;site-Savannah River] Study outlines impact of waste storage at SRS, Mike Gellatly, Aiken Standard (thanx Nevada state ANP)

* [npp-US-spent fuel;site-Savannah River] Aiken group fears SRS could become nation's nuclear dump, WRDW-TV (thanx Nevada state ANP)

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August 26, 2012

* [n-waste-US-HLW] Here's why Carlsbad NM wants to be site of Yucca Mountain-type HLW repository, nuclear.com info nugget

June 23, 2012

* [npp-spent fuel-Japan] Policy of reprocessing all spent #nuclear fuel may be axed; but country has no geologic repository, Japan Times, thanx @djysrv

December 26, 2011

1-million years?

"As long as the EPA requires that a repository safeguard spent nuclear fuel for one million years — 200 times longer than recorded history — a permanent facility will remain a pipe dream." - Steve Milloy blog post today at JunkScience.com

September 4, 2009

Civilian Nuclear Waste Disposal - Most Recent Developments

The Obama Administration has decided to "terminate the Yucca Mountain program while developing nuclear waste disposal alternatives," according to the Department of Energy (DOE) FY2010 budget justification, submitted to Congress May 7, 2009. Under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada is the only location under consideration by DOE for construction of a national high-level radioactive waste repository. DOE had submitted a license application for the proposed repository to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on June 3, 2008.

President Obama's FY2010 budget calls for a "blue ribbon" panel of experts to evaluate alternatives to the Yucca Mountain repository. At the same time, according to the DOE budget justification, the NRC licensing process for the Yucca Mountain repository is to continue, "consistent with the provisions of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act." The FY2010 budget request of $198.6 million for DOE's Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, which runs the nuclear waste program, would provide only enough funding to continue the Yucca Mountain licensing process and to evaluate alternative policies, according to DOE. The request is about $90 million below the FY2009 funding level, which was nearly $100 million below the FY2008 level. All work related solely to preparing for construction and operation of the Yucca Mountain repository is being halted, according to the DOE budget justification.

The House version of the FY2010 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill (H.R. 3183, H.Rept. 111-203), passed July 17, 2009, approves the Administration's funding cuts but includes a requirement that Yucca Mountain be one of the options considered by the "blue ribbon" nuclear waste panel. The Senate version of the bill, passed July 29, 2009 (S.Rept. 111- 45), also approves the DOE nuclear waste funding cut but does not include the House requirement on the blue-ribbon panel; in addition, the Senate bill would reduce funding for NRC's Yucca Mountain licensing activities. Senator Reid of Nevada, a long-time opponent of the proposed Yucca Mountain repository, announced on the same day as Senate passage that the Administration had agreed to terminate the Yucca Mountain licensing effort in the FY2011 budget request.

Source: Mark Holt (Specialist in Energy Policy, Congressional Research Service), "Civilian Nuclear Waste Disposal", CRS Report for Congress, RL33461, September 4, 2009

February 24, 2008

This is from the front page of today's Sunday Victoria Advocate, of Texas.

front page clipping

front page clipping

February 17, 2008

Spent fuel litigation - federal government may be liable for $7-billion already, with $35-billion possible

... the waste from more than 100 nuclear reactors that the federal government was supposed to start accepting for burial 10 years ago is still at the reactor sites, at least 20 years behind schedule. But it is making itself felt in the federal budget. With court orders and settlements, the federal government has already paid the utilities $342 million, but is virtually certain to pay a total of at least $7 billion in the next few years and probably over $11 billion, government officials said. The industry said the total could reach $35 billion... The payments are due because the reactor owners were all required to sign contracts with the Energy Department in the early 1980s, with the government promising to dispose of the waste for a fee of a 10th of a cent per kilowatt-hour. It was supposed to begin taking away the fuel in the then far-off year of 1998. Since then, the utilities have filed 60 lawsuits. The main argument — employing legions of lawyers on both sides — is when the government would have picked up the fuel if it had adhered to the original commitment, and thus how much of the storage expense would have fallen on the utilities anyway... If the repository that the government is trying to develop at Yucca Mountain, near Las Vegas, could start accepting waste at the date now officially projected, in 2017, the damages would run about $7 billion, according to Edward F. Sproat III, director of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management... Each reactor typically creates about 20 tons of waste a year, which is approximately two new casks, at roughly $1 million each. If a repository or interim site opened, clearing the backlog would take decades, experts say. At present, waste is in temporary storage at 122 sites in 39 states... If the repository opens in 2020, the damages would come to about $11 billion, he said, and for each year beyond that, about $500 million more. The industry says the total could reach $35 billion... Initially, the Energy Department tried to pay the damages out of the Nuclear Waste Fund, the money collected from the nuclear utilities, plus interest, which comes to about $30 billion. But other utilities sued, saying that if the government did that, there might not be enough money left for the intended purpose, building a repository. So the government now pays the damages out of general revenues... Under a law passed in the Carter administration, such payments are recognized as obligations of the federal government and no further action by Congress is required to make them. The money comes out of a federal account called the Judgment Fund, which is used to pay settlements and court-ordered payments. For the last five years, the fund has made payments in the range of $700 million to $1 billion, with the average payment being $80,000 to $150,000. In contrast, payments to utilities have been in the tens of millions.

[NUCLEAR.COMment: The only one of these spent fuel litigation cases where the government has sent a check for damages was in the one filed by TVA. The government has lost other cases, but is appealing these, and has made no other such payments. So the Times story isn't really accurate when it refers to what payments have been.]

[Source: Matthew L. Wald, "As Nuclear Waste Languishes, Expense to U.S. Rises", The New York Times, February 17, 2008]

October 30, 2007

* Utah Gov. Huntsman sees lack of spent fuel reprocessing as reason to forego building any n-plant there

October 17, 2007

* Sandia memo puts Yucca Mountain schedule ahead of defensibility and credibility; Nevada cites same in petitioning NRC to bar Sandia from further Yucca work

May 5, 2007

New this week from NRC Public Document Room

* [2007-05-05] Direct Final Rule: List of Approved Spent Fuel Storage Casks: Standardized NUHOMS System Revision 9 (Part 72 - AI03). ML070590459 2007-01-29 2 RIN 3150-AI03 2007-01-29 2007-05-04 1 From: Doris Mendiola To: notify.advocacy@sba.gov Date: Mon, Jan 29, 2007 4:51 PM Subject: Direct Final Rule - Part 72, AI03 In accordance with Section 605(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), I am at

* [2007-05-05] Final Rule: List of Approved Spent Fuel Storage Casks: NUHOMS HD Addition, Part 72 - AH93. ML063450453 2006-12-08 2 10 CFR Part 72 RIN 3150-AH93 2006-12-08 2007-05-04 From: Doris Mendiola To: notify.advocacy@sba.gov Date: 12/08/2006 3:41:44 PM Subject: Final Rule - Part 72, AH93 In accordance with Section 605(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), I am

* [2007-05-05] Direct Final Rule: List of Approved Spent Fuel Storage Casks: FuelSolutions Cask System Revision 4, (10 CFR Part 72, AH86). ML061090799 2006-04-12 2 RIN 3150-AH86 2006-04-12 2007-05-04 1 From: Doris Mendiola To: notify.advocacy@sba.gov Date: Wed, Apr 12, 2006 1:28 PM Subject: Direct Final Rule - Part 72, AH86 In accordance with Section 605(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), I am at

* [2007-05-05] Final Rule: List of Approved Spent Fuel Storage Casks: HI-STORM 100 Revision 3 (Part 72, AH98). ML071130274 2007-04-23 2 RIN 3150-AH98 2007-04-23 2007-05-04 From: Doris Mendiola To: notify.advocacy@sba.gov Date: 04/23/2007 10:32:22 AM Subject: Final Rule (Part 72 - AH98 In accordance with Section 605(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), I am attaching a co

* [2007-05-04] IMC 2690, "Inspection Program for Dry Storage of Spent Reactor Fuel at Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations and for 10 CFR Part 71 Transportation Packagings." ML070590389 2007-05-03 21 CN 07-015 IMC 2690 2007-05-03 2007-05-03 ML071230094+ NRC INSPECTION MANUAL NMSS/SFST | MANUAL CHAPTER 2690 INSPECTION PROGRAM FOR DRY STORAGE OF SPENT REACTOR FUEL AT INDEPENDENT SPENT FUEL STORAGE INSTALLATIONS AND FOR | 10 CFR PART 71 TRANSPORTATION

* [2007-05-04] IP 60858 "Away-From-Reactor ISFSI Inspection Guidance" ML070430095 2007-05-03 10 CN 07-015 IP 60858 2007-05-03 2007-05-03 ML071230094+ Issue Date: 05/03/07 1 60858 NRC INSPECTION MANUAL NMSS/SFST INSPECTION PROCEDURE 60858 AWAY-FROM-REACTOR ISFSI INSPECTION GUIDANCE PROGRAM APPLICABILITY: 2690 60857-01 INSPECTION OBJECTIVE Determine by

* [2007-05-04] (ENCL 1) 4/17/07 Re: COC 72-1004 - Amendment No. 9 to Certificate of Compliance No. 1004 for the Standardized NUHOMS System. ML071070582 2007-04-17 3 07201004 COC 72-1004 2007-04-17 2007-05-03 ML071070570+ NRC FORM 651 (10-2004) 10 CFR 72 U.S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE FOR SPENT FUEL STORAGE CASKS Page 1 of 3 The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is issuing this Certificat

* [2007-05-04] 4/25/07 Ltr to M. Delligatti re: Completion of Technical Reviews for the TN-68 Dry Storage Cask, Amendment No. 1. ML071170622 2007-04-25 2 07201027 TAC L23802 2007-04-25 2007-05-03 April 25, 2007 MEMORANDUM TO: Mark S. Delligatti, Chief Rulemaking Branch B Division of Intergovernmental Liaison and Rulemaking, FSME FROM: Robert A. Nelson, Chief Licensing Branch /RA/ Division of Spent Fuel Stor

* [2007-05-04] (ENCL 2) 4/17/2007 re: Final Safety Evaluation Report - Amendment No. 9 to Certificate of Compliance No. 1004 for the Standardized NUHOMS System. ML071070584 2007-04-17 5 07201004 2007-04-17 2007-05-03 ML071070570+ FINAL SAFETY EVALUATION REPORT TRANSNUCLEAR, INC. STANDARDIZED NUHOMS ® HORIZONTAL MODULAR STORAGE SYSTEM FOR IRRADIATED NUCLEAR FUEL DOCKET No. 72-1004 NUHOMS ® -61BT SYSTEM AMENDMENT NO. 9 FINAL SAFETY EVALUATI

* [2007-05-04] 4/17/07 Ltr to J Bondre re: Amendment No. 9 to Certificate of Compliance No. 1004 for the Standardized NUHOMS System. ML071070572 2007-04-17 4 07201004 2007-04-17 2007-05-03 ML071070570+ April 17, 2007 Mr. Jayant Bondre Director of Engineering and Licensing Transnuclear, Inc. 7135 Minstrel Way Suite 300 Columbia, MD 21045 SUBJECT: AMENDMENT NO. 9 TO CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE NO. 1004 FOR THE STAN

* [2007-05-04] Incorporation of Amendment No. 9 to Certificate of Compliance (CoC) No. 1004 for the Standardized NUHOMS System to the Updated Final Safety Analysis Report. ML071150044 2007-04-20 31 07201004 E-24947 2007-04-20 2007-05-03 A TRANSNUCLEAR AN AREVA CoWANy April 20, 2007 E-24947 U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Attn: Document Control Desk One White Flint North 11555 Rockville Pike Rockville, MD 20852 Subject: Incorporation of Amendment

* [2007-05-04] 4/17/07 Ltr to J Bondre Re: Amendment No. 9 to Certificate of Compliance No. 1004 for the Standardized NUHOMS System (Docket No. 71-1004). ML071070570 2007-05-03 ML062830067+ML071070572+ML071070582+ML071070584+ FNWEBNAVIGATE=1.0 SYSTEMTYPE=MEZZANINE DOCUMENTID=071070570 STARTPAGE=1 LIBRARYNAME=ml_adams^hqntad01

* [2007-05-02] Enclosure 1: Federal Register Notice for Final Rule - HI-STORM 100, Amend 3 - to Revise 10 CFR Part 72 List of Approved Spent Fuel Storage Casks - EDO Pkg. ML070920335 2007-04-13 20 07201014 10 CFR Part 72 RIN 3150-AH98 2007-04-13 2007-05-01 [7590-01-P] NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 10 CFR Part 72 RIN 3150-AH98 List of Approved Spent Fuel Storage Casks: HI-STORM 100 Revision 3 AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Final rule.

* [2007-05-02] Enclosure 2: EDO Daily Note re: Final Rule - HI-STORM 100, Amend. 3 - to Revise 10 CFR Part 72 List of Approved Spent Fuel Storage Casks - EDO Pkg. ML070920351 2007-04-04 1 10 CFR Part 72 RIN 3150-AH98 2007-04-04 2007-05-01 EDO DAILY NOTE During the week of __________, EDO staff will review and issue a final rule that amends 10 CFR 72.214, “List of approved spent fuel storage casks,” by revising the HI-STORM 100 cask system w

* [2007-05-02] Enclosure 4: Approved for Publication re: Final Rule - HI-STORM 100, Amend. 3 - to Revise 10 CFR Part 72 List of Approved Spent Fuel Storage Casks - EDO Pkg. ML070920456 2007-04-13 1 10 CFR Part 72 RIN 3150-AH98 2007-04-13 2007-05-01 Approved For Publication The Commission delegated to the EDO [10 CFR 1.32(c)] the authority to develop and promulgate rules as defined in the APA [5 U.S.C. 551(4)] subject to the limitations in NRC Managem

* [2007-05-02] Enclosure 5: Environmental Assessment re: Final Rule - Hi-Storm 100, Amend 3 - to Revise 10 CFR Part 72 List of Approved Spent Fuel Storage Casks - EDO Pkg. ML070920461 2007-04-04 5 RIN 3150-AH98 2007-04-04 2007-05-01 ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND FINDING OF NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO 10 CFR PART 72 LIST OF APPROVED SPENT FUEL STORAGE CASKS: HI-STORM 100 CASK SYSTEM REVISION 3 Office of Nuclear Material Safety and S

* [2007-05-02] L. Reyes Ltr. re: Final Rule - Hi-Storm 100, Amend. 3 - to Amend 10 CFR Part 72 List of Approved Spent Fuel Storage Casks - EDO Pkg. ML070920286 2007-04-04 3 07201014 COC 1014 RIN 3150-AH98 2007-04-04 2007-05-01 April 4, 2007 MEMORANDUM TO: Luis A. Reyes Executive Director for Operations FROM: Dennis K. Rathbun, Director Division of Intergovernmental Liaison and Rulemaking /RA/ Office of Federal and State Mater

* [2007-05-02] M. Lesar memo re: Final Rule - ADM Pkg. - Hi-Storm 100, Amend 3 to Revise 10 CFR Part 72 List of Approved Spent Fuel Storage Casks. ML071080178 2007-04-19 2 RIN 3150-AH98 2007-04-19 2007-05-01 April 19, 2007 MEMORANDUM TO: Michael T. Lesar, Chief Rulemaking, Directives and Editing Branch Division of Administrative Services Office of Administration FROM: Mark S. Delligatti, Chief (/RA/ N. Bhalla/for) Rulemaking

* [2007-05-02] 2007/04/17 Summary of Meeting with Department of Energy, Division of Naval Reactors, Regarding Transport of Naval Spent Fuel. ML071170314 2007-04-26 4 07109335 TAC L24071 2007-04-26 2007-05-01 April 26, 2007 MEMORANDUM TO: William H. Ruland, Deputy Director Division of Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards FROM: Nancy Osgood, Senior Project Manager /RA/ Li

* [2007-05-01] Use of Credit for Moderator Exclusion in the Licensing of Spent Nuclear Fuel Transportation Packages ML071150483 2007-04-23 4 WF 250 R-0260 2007-04-23 2007-04-30 ACNWR-0260 April 23, 2007 The Honorable Dale E. Klein Chairman U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Washington, DC 20555-0001 SUBJECT: USE OF CREDIT FOR MODERATOR EXCLUSION IN THE LICENSING OF SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL TRANSPORTA

April 21, 2007

New this week from NRC Public Document Room

* [2007-04-21] 05/8-9/2007 Notice of Meeting with Department of Energy's Idaho Field Office to discuss the analyses and testing's of Standardized Canisters designed for transporting Department of Energy-owned spent nuclear fuels. ML071100308 2007-04-20 4 TAC L24045 2007-04-20 2007-04-20 April 20, 2007 MEETING NOTICE Organization: Department of Energy’s Idaho Field Office Date and Time: May 8 and 9, 2007 8:00 am - 12:00 pm Location: Idaho Falls Ameritel Inn Eagle Rock Room 645 Lindsay Blvd. Idaho Falls, Ida

* [2007-04-20] Federal Register Notice re: Confirmation of Effective Date for NUHOMS, Revision 9 - Direct Final Rule to Revise 10 CFR Part 72 List of Approved Spent Fuel Storage Casks. ML071000312 2007-04-11 4 7590-01-P RIN 3150-A103 2007-04-11 2007-04-19 [7590-01-P] NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 10 CFR Part 72 RIN 3150-AI03 List of Approved Fuel Storage Casks: Standardized NUHOMS ® System, Revision 9, Confirmation of Effective Date AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Co

* [2007-04-20] 4/11/07 Ltr to L.Hinojosa re: Summary of April 3, 2007, Telephone Call with Holtec International (HOLTEC) to Discuss the Model No. HI-STAR 180 Transportation Package. ML071030443 2007-04-11 5 07109325 HI-STAR 180 TAC L24070 2007-04-11 2007-04-19 April 11, 2007 Mr. Luis Hinojosa, Project Manager Holtec International Holtec Center 555 Lincoln Drive West Marlton, NJ 08053 SUBJECT: SUMMARY OF APRIL 3, 2007, TELEPHONE CALL WITH HOLTEC INTERNATIONAL

* [2007-04-21] NUREG/CR-6800, Assessment of Reactivity Margins & Loading Curves for PWR Burnup-Credit Cask Designs. ML031110280 2003-03-31 92 ORNL-TM-2002/6 NUREG/CR-6800 2003-03-31 2007-04-20 NUREG/CR-6800 ORNL/TM-2002/6 Assessment of Reactivity Margins and Loading Curves for PWR Burnup-Credit Cask Designs Oak Ridge National Laboratory U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Office of Nuclear Regula

* [2007-04-18] E-mail from Jayant Bondre, Transnuclear Inc., to Meraj Rahimi dated 04/03/06 re: Meeting on TN-40. ML060970364 2005-04-03 5 2005-04-03 2006-04-17 Michelle DeBose - RE: Meeting on TN-40 Page 1 From: "BONDRE Jayant" To: "Meraj Rahimi" Date: 4/3/06 5:37PM Subject: RE: Meeting on TN-40 Mr. Rahimi, Attached file contains our prelimina

February 27, 2007

Diablo Canyon ISFSI ok to continue while NRC completes court-ordered environmental analysis, sez PG&E lawyers

In a brief filed with NRC, PG&E attorneys respond to San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace argument that the license for Diablo Canyon ISFSI was invalidated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace v. NRC, 449 F.3d 1016 (9th Cir. 2006), cert. denied (January 16, 2007). The intervenors had sought an NRC order that PG&E "may not use the ISFSI to store spent reactor fuel unless and until the NRC completes the environmental analysis remanded by the U.S. Court of Appeals and re-issues a permit to PG&E for the ISFSI." PG&E's response noted that if the Court of Appeals had intended such injunctive relief, it surely would have mentioned it. PG&E cites variety of precedents against Mothers' take on the matter, including Supreme Court description of injunctive relief as an "extraordinary" equitable remedy that "does not issue as of course." The intervenors claimed that a PG&E request -- that the renewed proceeding move forward -- implicitly concedes that the company has no legal authority to load spent fuel into the ISFSI. PG&E's brief calls this a clever argument, but contrasts the company's repeated and explicit arguments to the contrary as evidence that Mothers' cleverness is no substitute for the facts. PG&E's brief, dated February 13, 2007, is available as ADAMS ACN ML070520443.

NAC withdraws MAGNASTOR cask application; plans to resubmit

On August 31, 2004, NAC International submitted an application to NRC requesting that a dry cask system called MAGNASTOR be issued a Certificate of Compliance in accordance with 10CFR72. The system consists of a welded stainless steel transportable storage canister, a transfer cask, and a concrete storage cask. MAGNASTOR used what NRC calls a "unique canister basket design" to store up to 37 PWR spent fuel assemblies or 87 BWR assemblies. NRC's review proceeded through two rounds of RAIs (Requests for Additional Information), but NRC staff decided to suspend further review because open issues remained in analysis of structural, thermal and criticality characteristics. NRC's summary of the open issues, contained in attachment to letter to NAC dated February 15, 2007 is available as ADAMS ACN ML070470146. NAC has informed NRC that a new application for MAGNASTOR will be submitted upon making revisions which address the open issues.

July 4, 2006

* Australia - nuclear inquiry is a Trojan Horse of some sort, perhaps HLW waste import from USA?

June 28, 2006

* Switzerland takes step towards deep repository; site-selection criteria being developed

June 13, 2006

"Long-term storage" is a term that's used in many ways

NRC/SFPO staff cautioned Holtec that defining "long-term storage" for use at an "interim storage" facility, as was the case in HI-STORM FSAR, may not be appropriate. This and other matters discussed during June 13, 2006 teleconference clarifying NRC's RAI#2 on License Amendment Request 3, are described in NRC's conversation record, available via ADAMS as ACN ML061670235, which was released to public on June 24, 2006.

November 16, 2005

* Humboldt Bay ISFSI - NRC's environmental assessment

October 16, 2005

* Australians eye global spent fuel repository biz

October 14, 2005

* UK to add a 6th nuclear waste ship for ocean transport

August 25, 2005

* Breeder reactor waste will be transmuted in fusion reactors

August 8, 2005

Arkansas gets NRC ok to let potentially damaged fuel remain loaded in 4 casks

Arkansas Nuclear One determined that five fuel assemblies from Unit 2, previously loaded into spent fuel casks, may each have a damaged fuel pin. Damaged fuel is not approved for storage in the MPC-32 basket design used with the Holtec HI-STORM casks at the plant. To avoid the occupational exposure and various other risks involved with removing assemblies from the four casks involved, the plant requested exemption from the Certificate of Compliance requirement that no damage greater than hairline crack or pinhole leak exist in any loaded bundles. NRC staff's safety evaluation concluded that there is reasonable assurance that permitting the damaged fuel to remain loaded "will not pose an increased risk to the public health and safety and is acceptable." The safety evaluation and August 8, 2005 letter from NRC's SFPO to Entergy approving the exemption request is available here.

April 16, 2005

* US panel: Fuel pool attack could trigger zirconium fire
Thecla Fabian, Nuclear Engineering

A terrorist attack on the spent fuel pools at some US nuclear plants could trigger a high-temperature zirconium fire that would lead to a significant release of radioactivity, though not on the scale of the 1986 Chernobyl explosion, concluded a blue-ribbon panel of scientists assembled by the National Research Council of the US National Academies. The unclassified academies' report, Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel: Public Report, contains all the findings and recommendations of the classified report, but with all national security and safeguards information removed, said Louis Lanzerotti, who chaired the 15-member expert panel pulled together by the academies' Board on Radioactive Waste Management in response to a mandate from congress. The panel spent six months gathering and analyzing data, and meeting with regulators, nuclear industry experts, and independent scientists. Lanzerotti is a geophysics expert consulting for Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies and a distinguished professor for solar-terrestrial research at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Other panel members included a former NRC division director in nuclear materials management, and experts in the behaviour of nuclear materials at high temperatures, penetration mechanics, ballistics and weapons technology, health physics, actinide chemistry, heat transfer, thermal hydraulics, structural engineering and terrorism. The panel unanimously concluded that an attack that caused either partial or complete draining of a plant's spent fuel pool might be capable of starting a high-temperature fuel cladding fire that could lead to the “release of large quantities of radioactive material into the environment.” The risk depends on a number of factors, including the type of attack, the design of the fuel pool, and the configuration of the fuel in the pool. The panel recommended two immediate measures that could reduce the potential for fuel cladding fires: (1) The reconfiguration of the position of fuel assemblies in the pools to more evenly distribute decay heat loads; and (2) Making provisions to cool the fuel with water spray systems that could continue to operate even after a pool or the building housing it is damaged. The panel noted that water spray systems might not be needed at plants where the fuel pools are located below ground or otherwise protected.

... Pools are and will continue to be needed at all nuclear plants for the foreseeable future, the panel stressed, noting that fuel newly removed from the reactor needs about five years cooling time in a water pool before it can be loaded into casks. For older fuel, however, dry storage has two advantages. It is a passive system that relies on air circulation for cooling, and it divides the spent fuel inventory into a number of individual, robust containers that contain only a small amount of the total inventory. Different dry cask systems available on the US market differed only slightly in robustness under different terrorist attack scenarios, the panel found.

* Spent-fuel storage 'secure'; What is Dominion power doing to protect tons of highly radioactive spent fuel at North Anna nuclear plant?
Rusty Dennen, Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA)

More than 900 tons of highly radioactive spent fuel sits in a swimming-pool-like enclosure and in 22 giant steel casks at North Anna Power Station. Every 18 months, North Anna's two reactors must be shut down and partially refueled. Sixty-four spent fuel assemblies are typically removed from each reactor core. Each reactor has 157 assemblies. The assemblies -- rectangular modules packed with uranium-pellet-filled tubes -- are lifted from the reactor and submerged in what looks like an industrial-size indoor swimming pool. Twenty-seven feet of water, infused with neutron-absorbing boron, protects workers in the room from radiation. The pool sits between North Anna's two reactors. The spent fuel assemblies are submerged, where they will stay for at least five years to cool. After that, they are placed in helium-filled steel casks, which are decontaminated and moved to the storage area outside. Helium is an inert gas that helps transfer heat to the outside of the casks, each of which holds 32 fuel assemblies. The gas is easy to detect if there's a container leak. Twenty-two of the 115-ton storage containers sit on concrete pads in a fenced, secure enclosure at North Anna. By 2010, there could be 36. It has become an issue locally because Dominion power -- owner of the North Anna plant -- has an application to add up to two more reactors wending its way through the regulatory process. More reactors would mean the storage of many more tons of spent fuel.

Earlier this month the National Academy of Sciences recommended a plant-by-plant review of the storage pools at nuclear plants, suggesting that they may be vulnerable to terrorist attack.

Environmental groups opposing additional reactors at North Anna say the protection of the spent fuel is a legitimate concern and that expansion would present a more tempting target to terrorists. In a public hearing in February in Louisa on environmental aspects of Dominion's early site-permit application, spent fuel was addressed by a number of speakers. One of them was Sue Chase, who lives in Albemarle County, about 50 miles from North Anna. "Who can assure us that a plant won't be bombed, invaded or hit by a plane and that the fuel rods won't be exposed, resulting in a devastating fire? No one." The [NAS] report [released earlier this month] said the spent-fuel pool, and others like it in 31 states, could be compromised by a suicide aircraft or high-explosive attack, exposing the assemblies and unleashing an uncontrollable fire and large amounts of radiation. The NRC has concluded release from such a fire would be "extremely low," but the agency still advised reactor operators to consider reconfiguring the fuel assemblies in the pools. Jerry Rosenthal, president of Concerned Citizens of Louisa and a member of the People's Alliance for Clean Energy, formed to oppose the North Anna expansion, scoffs at the notion [that the spent-fuel storage systems are safe and secure]. "They are protected very well from ground attack, or certain types of attack. Not from above. The pool is covered by a [thin steel] building and the casks are covered by nothing." "We have video of [military] TOW missiles blowing holes in the casks," he said, adding, "Seven attorneys general around the U.S. have recommended putting towers and wire barriers above dry casks and pools for further protection from air attack."

"These facilities are very secure," said Richard Zuercher, spokesman for Dominion's nuclear operations. He said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission "already did an assessment of individual [plant] sites and made recommendations for everybody to implement, and we are in full compliance with those orders." Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Zuercher said, security has been ramped up, and the chance of a terrorists attacking the fuel pool or the casks is remote. "A lot of money has been spent [on security] by Dominion since 9/11, but we believe the sites were very secure before 9/11." Zuercher says just how and where the security has been beefed up is a secret, for obvious reasons. But he said: "We have increased our security force. We have more officers and we have put more sophisticated surveillance equipment in that allows us to keep watch on all of the property." Zuercher said that prior to 9/11, security was focused on the secure area of the plant containing the reactors, spent-fuel pool and storage casks. "Since then, security has been enhanced to cover the whole [plant] site."

Dominion recently received permission from the Louisa County Board of Supervisors to add another cask-storage pad. New casks will be better protected -- encased in reinforced-concrete containers. The board didn't go along with a Planning Commission recommendation that a berm be added to the fenced area around the casks to improve security from a possible shoulder-fired-missile attack. Dominion, however, was asked to study a berm.

On Monday, the Government Accountability Office found that some utilities have not kept close enough track of spent fuel. The GAO report questioned oversight by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and said the materials "could be diverted or stolen and used maliciously." The report was requested last year by Vermont's two senators following news that spent fuel had been reported missing at the Vermont Yankee plant. It was later found in the spent-fuel pool, but not where records said it was supposed to be. Spent fuel also was reported missing from the Millstone nuclear plant in Connecticut in 2000 and from the Humboldt Bay plant in California last year.

Dominion power has accounted for all the spent fuel at its North Anna and Surry plants.

* In our view: A small success on nuclear waste
The Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), p. A6

After a meeting with Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr., Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff agreed to study the security risks of shipping nuclear waste to remote sites such as Yucca Mountain in Nevada or Skull Valley in Tooele County versus leaving the material where it was created... Huntsman deserves credit for getting the Homeland Security department to look hard at the potential for terrorist attacks on nuclear waste shipments. Unfortunately, the fact that this hasn't been done already suggests the government hasn't thought it through very carefully. It shows that we're still not thinking as creatively as our enemies... If there is any lesson we should have learned from the attacks on New York and Washington it is that terrorists fight unconventionally, and we need to adjust our defenses accordingly. Who would have thought before 9/11 that terrorists would hijack commercial airliners and use them in kamikaze attacks on the World Trade Center's twin towers and the Pentagon? Likewise, we've not carefully considered how a terrorist could turn a nuclear waste shipment into a dirty bomb by simply punching a hole in a waste cask. We know from our experience in Iraq that it's not hard to get armor-piercing weapons. While spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors are not explosive, a ruptured cask could release radiation, killing or injuring people in the immediate area and creating widespread panic. A radiation release is not the kind of thing local police or emergency response teams train for on a regular basis, and many agencies likely don't have the resources or equipment to handle such a situation. If such an attack occurred in Salt Lake City, St. Louis or Las Vegas, the economic shockwaves would likely be felt around the country. In the case of Las Vegas, which depends upon tourism to survive, an attack on a radioactive waste shipment could be economically fatal...

* Homeland clarifies position on study of storage of nuclear fuel
Robert Gehrke, Salt Lake Tribune

The Department of Homeland Security says it will look at security concerns involving storage of nuclear fuel, but has not committed to a formal study. The department clarified its position after Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. said following a Tuesday meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that the department committed to a study of the issue... "The secretary agreed to look into the issue to determine if the department would need to do a study," said Homeland Security spokesman Brian Roehrkasse. Roehrkasse said it's unknown at this point what the department's "look into" the nuclear storage issue might entail. Huntsman spokeswoman Tammy Kikuchi said that, "It's study more as a verb than as a noun."

April 13, 2005

Please don't exaggerate the risk of unaccounted spent fuel rod pieces at US nuclear plants

"... NRC believes that the likelihood that an adversary could steal spent fuel from a spent fuel pool or storage cask is extremely low, given the security and radiation protection measures in place and the ease of detectability and intense, physically disabling radiation from the spent fuel.1 The actions the NRC has already taken, as well as the actions being taken, are adequate when considered in the full context of power plant security. Consequently, the NRC does not consider the threat of a knowledgeable, active insider stealing a spent fuel rod, or portion thereof, to be credible. The NRC believes that an insider could not overcome the multiple physical issues and sensitive radiation detectors, both around the pool and throughout the plant associated with preventing the removal of spent fuel rods or pieces from the pool. Furthermore, the physically disabling radiation would prevent an insider from surreptitiously removing the spent fuel from the reactor site for use in a radiological dispersal device (RDD).

As the GAO review indicated, some spent fuel pieces have recently been reported missing or unaccounted for from spent fuel pools; but, for the reasons listed above, there is no reason to conclude that any of the missing or unaccounted for material was removed for any malevolent purpose. Additionally, for all the missing or unaccounted for fuel rods or pieces identified to date, the initiating events occurred decades ago."

[Source: Luis A. Reyes (NRC, Executive Director for Operations), letter to James E. Wells, Jr. (Director, Natural Resources and Environment - U.S. Government Accountability Office), March 25, 2005, ACN ML050690092]

April 7, 2005

Dry cask storage of spent fuel - USA map


NRC today released this map of Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations (ISFSIs), including operating and proposed sites. The map details can be viewed by clicking here for pdf version. The map shows whether a site uses general license or site-specific license, the number of casks presently loaded, and nearby rail and interstate highway service.

November 19, 2004

* Russia - UK contributed a dry cask storage facility, for spent fuel from submarines, at Atomflot

November 6, 2004

* Utah appeal to US Supreme Court re blocking spent fuel from being brought into state

* Skull Valley - NRC license could be issued as early as January 2005

* Skull Valley - may be progressing so quickly that eventual Yucca Mountain transport rules may be stricter

* Skull Valley might be stuck if Yucca Mountain won't accept welded casks

* Skull Valley - PFS promises to train rural fire departments along transport route

September 18, 2004

* Spent fuel policy failure is "like building a wonderful, livable mansion that has no septic system. It doesn't even have an outhouse", said Maine's public advocate for utility issues upon witnessing the use of explosives to topple the Maine Yankee containment dome.

May 20, 2004

* Yucca Mountain faces 85% budget cut - $131 million instead of $880 million for 2005 possible

March 26, 2004

* Quad-Cities ISFSI plans to load first four HI-STORM casks in 2005Q3, followed by five casks every Fall

March 19, 2004

* MOX - Duke's reply to spent fuel transport questions

March 12, 2004

* Yucca Mountain - KTIs need to be addressed in application, but not resolved, sez OCRWM director

* Yucca Mountain - DOE mum about "what ifs" related to possibility that court will force changes

* Yucca Mountain - DOE is not nearly ready to submit an application; but the fantasyland atmosphere may prompt them to do just that

* Yucca Mountain - Nevada's goal is, not NIMBY, but compliance with the law and reliance on sound science

March 11, 2004

* Security fatigue - draft order for ISFSIs and decommissioned reactors (Feb 26 meeting summary)

December 1, 2003

* Radwaste transport - NAS committee formed this year to report by March 2005

* Spent fuel shipments from Oak Ridge to INEEL, planned for November, did not involve notification of potential emergency responders or general public

* Spent fuel transport evokes tremendous fear, even amongst residents of nuclear-oriented towns

* Spent fuel shipments - public along the route should be informed

* Spent fuel transport - transparency and accountability essential in protecting public

* Spent fuel transport - secrecy has no national security benefit

* Spent fuel transport - notification would allow folks to leave town, if they want to

* Oak Ridge - spent fuel to be removed from Milton Valley site by 2006; destinations: Savannah River and INEEL

* INEEL allowed to receive 497 spent fuel truck shipments; and all must be removed by 2035

* 3,000+ spent fuel shipments without harmful radioactive release, sez DOE

December 4, 2003

Spent fuel cask license renewals supported by 15-year creep test

The Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research (RES) has completed an experimental program post-storage characterization and creep testing of representative PWR fuel rods, stored for over 15 years in a dry storage cask. The objective of the program was to provide a technical basis supporting the revision of Interim Staff Guidance (ISG-11), which will be used by NRC to grant license extensions for dry storage casks. The experimental program and the results are documented in NUREG/CR-6831. The results are also summarized in a research information letter (RIL).

The results suggest that the PWR spent fuel cladding, after 15 years in a dry storage environment, retained sufficient structural integrity to remain as a barrier to fission product release. The results provide a sound technical basis in support of Revision 2 of Interim Staff Guidance (ISG-11), and for granting an extension of cask licenses, thereby reducing regulatory burden on licensees while maintaining the safety of spent fuel storage. Note that the results are valid for spent fuel with a burnup limit of 45 gigawatt days per metric ton of uranium (GWd/MTU). RES is currently conducting a similar experimental program for high burnup spent fuel cladding (burnup in excess of 45 GWd/MTU).

[Source: "Post-Storage Characterization and Creep Testing of Spent Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) Fuel Rods", NRC/RES, in NRC Office of EDO, "Weekly Information Report, Week Ending November 21, 2003", SECY-03-0207, December 1, 2003, ACN ML033360224]

November 28, 2003

* Spent fuel highway transport route (Browns Ferry to GE-Vallecitos) approved

November 21, 2003

NRC releases dry cask Inspection Report

* Transnuclear corrective action report 72-1021-2003-201

November 20, 2003

Transnuclear NUHOMS 61BT cask CoC amended to allow use with damaged BWR fuel

The Executive Director for Operations (EDO) approved a proposed rule which revises 10 CFR Part 72.214, “List of approved spent fuel storage casks,” for the Transnuclear, Inc., Standardized NUHOMS ® Horizontal Modular Storage System (Standardized NUHOMS ® System) to include Amendment No. 7 in Certificate of Compliance (CoC) Number 1004. Amendment No. 7 which will incorporate changes in support of the Amergen Corporation plans to load damaged fuel and additional fuel types at its Oyster Creek Nuclear Station. Specifically, the amendment will add damaged Boiling Water Reactor spent fuel assemblies and additional fuel types to the authorized contents of the NUHOMS ® -61BT Dry Shielded Canister under a general license. In addition, the amendment includes three minor changes to the Technical Specifications to correct inconsistencies and remove irrelevant references.

[Source: NRC/NMSS, in NRC Office of EDO, "Weekly Information Report, Week Ending November 21, 2003", SECY-03-0207, December 1, 2003, ACN ML033360224]

November 3, 2003

Wisconsin site a leading candidate for next spent fuel repository

While Yucca Mountain will help store existing waste, the site is not big enough to handle future waste generated by nuclear plants. That means another site will definitely be needed if more nuclear plants are built. Among the leading candidates: a rock repository along the Wolf River in northern Wisconsin.

[Source: The Journal Times (Racine, WI), "Analysis: What is the future of nuclear power?", November 3, 2003]

September 23, 2003

NRC releases dry cask Inspection Report

* Holtec helium flow gage calibration report 72-1014-2003-202 (followup of Trojan event)

September 17, 2003

Calvert Cliffs to add NUHOMS-32P cask to ISFSI license

Calvert Cliffs' ISFSI is presently licensed for use of the NUHOMS-24P model dry storage cask. The plant wants to use Transnuclear's newer, higher-capacity cask design, the NUHOMS-32P. Changes that can not be made under 10 CFR 72.48 are planned to be submitted in a license amendment request to NRC by December 31, 2003. The ability to load 32 bundles per cask instead of 24 will allow the plant to get by with loading three casks per year instead of four. Using fewer casks will, in turn, extend the useful life of the ISFSI by six years.

[Source: Stephen C. O’Connor (SFPO project manager, NRC/NMSS), "Summary of September 17, 2003, meeting with Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, Inc.", November 28, 2003] Note: a PDF copy of the NRC memo is available from NRC at: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams/web-based.html, by entering accession number ML033350048

* Spent fuel cask diagram: NUHOMS-24P (Transnuclear, Inc.)

August 27, 2003

Skull Valley - appellate court issues

The state of Utah appealed last summer's federal district court ruling which held that five state laws intended to block the Skull Valley spent fuel cask storage project are unconstitutional. A 10th Circuit federal appeals court panel heard oral arguments in the case on August 26. The state contends that Congress never authorized the NRC to license a facility like Skull Valley. That makes it an illegal project, and as such, it is quite appropriate for the state to legislate as it has. The state even argued that, since the Skull Valley applicants aren't eligible for a lawful license, they have no standing to challenge Utah's laws on the matter. [Source: Judy Fahys (Salt Lake Tribune), "Goshutes, N-consortium face off with state", The Salt Lake Tribune, August 27, 2003]

August 22, 2003

Decommissioning funds for ISFSI

Upon learning that Humboldt Bay decommissioning funds were being used for the design and licensing of a dry cask independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI), NRC inspectors questioned how ISFSI design and licensing expenditures from the decommissioning fund are related to regulation 10 CFR 50.54(bb), which requires licensee to provide a program for funding and management of spent fuel until possession of the fuel is transferred to the Department of Energy. Plant representative explained that it had chosen to accumulate funding for its ISFSI design and licensing as part of the decommissioning trust fund and that its 10 CFR 50.54(bb) program was documented in a letter to the NRC dated September 26, 2000 (PG&E letter HBL-00-016).

A conference call involving the NRC inspectors, NRC headquarters staff, NRC regional staff, and PG&E representatives was held on July 31, 2003, to obtain additional information on the licensee’s 10 CFR 50.54(bb) spent fuel funding and management program and use of decommissioning funds for ISFSI design and licensing activities. It was noted during the call that regulatory statements of consideration do not prohibit co-mingling of ISFSI and decommissioning funds, provided assurance exists that sufficient funding for both activities remain and that accounting mechanisms are employed to ensure that funds for each type of activity are appropriately identified.

As a result of the discussion during the July 31, 2003, conference call, the NRC staff and inspectors concluded that the licensee’s use of the decommissioning fund for ISFSI design and licensing was consistent with the licensee’s 10 CFR 50.54(bb) program as described in PG&E’s letter dated September 26, 2000. The NRC acknowledged during this call that it owes a response to the September 26, 2000, PG&E letter.

Conclusion: The use of the decommissioning fund for ISFSI design and licensing was appropriate based on the licensee’s 10 CFR 50.54(bb) program as described in a PG&E letter to the NRC dated September 26, 2000. [Ref: NRC inspection report 50-133-2003-2]

August 19, 2003

Millstone spent fuel - town zoning commission sez go slow

Millstone expects to eventually need more than 200 dry casks for onsite storage of spent fuel. The owner of the three Millstone units plans to apply this month to the Connecticut Siting Council for permission to build 135 bunkers. Meanwhile, local zoning officials in the town of Waterford have recommended limiting the plant, for the time being, to 19 bunkers and casks. "We need to keep this thing to a manageable level," Planning Director Thomas Wagner said in presenting a five-page draft of recommendations to commissioners. "If they can justify more, they can reapply." The state council can modify the local recommendation only if two-thirds of the state council members agree to an alternative.

The recommendations specify that the storage bunkers be used only for spent fuel from Millstone 2. Written status reports are required every five years on construction, bunker installation, continued need and other changes.

Zoning commissioners also said that Millstone's owner, Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, should provide "a good faith and detailed examination of alternatives" that the company rejected before choosing this type of storage facility. That includes a summary of the financial analysis that contributed to the decision.

The town of Waterford's conservation commission wants to see a groundwater and surface-water monitoring plan to annually assess whether any radionuclides or volatile organic compounds are released into water resources on site.

[Source: Associated Press, "Waterford officials seek to restrict Millstone's waste storage", WFSB TV-3 (Hartford CT), August 19, 2003 (Copyright 2003 The Associated Press)]

August 13, 2003

West Valley spent fuel shipment last month prompts question of how adequately-informed the local officials along the way are required to be

Shortly after midnight on July 13, a seven-car train carrying 125 irradiated fuel assemblies left the West Valley site in New York, headed for disposal site in Idaho. The shipment arrived in Idaho four days later, apparently without incident. DOE officials have said that security and emergency preparedness were coordinated with state and tribal officials along the 2,360-mile route before and during the shipment, and the danger of the materials warranted secrecy from the general public. Public Citizen, a non-governmental organization, confirms that officials in Missouri were notified of the shipment and that it passed smoothly through that state, but the group is concerned that other localities which should have been informed were not.

Public Citizen cited Bill King, a town supervisor in Ashford, N.Y., where the West Valley facility is located, as saying local volunteer firefighters were not informed of DOE's schedule to ship the radioactive waste. Here's how the Las Vegas Sun editorial today told King's story: "Bill King certainly had good reason to be upset about being kept out of the loop. King... oversees the police force in the New York town where the nuclear waste was being stored, and he very likely would have been first on the scene if there had been an accident as the waste was first being moved. 'My own people, these volunteers that I have, could have been taken right into something that could have killed them,' King said. Other officials in nearby towns weren't told about the shipment, either, he added." And the local congressman, Rep. Amory Houghton, R-N.Y., has complained to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham that he was not informed.

Public Citizen doesn't claim to know if any laws or regulations were violated, but have asked a National Academy of Sciences board that is studying nuclear-waste transportation to evaluate the issues involved. Public Citizen analyst Lisa Gue told reporter that "...it gets back to the question of whether existing regulations are sufficient to protect the public interest and we think not." The Las Vegas Sun editorial notes, with the disgust born of the prospect of 77,000 tons of spent fuel aimed at Nevada, that Congress is considering legislation permitting DOE to restrict the public's access to unclassified information about nuclear waste activities, such as transportation. The Sun recommends the opposite approach: forcing the Energy Department to be more open -- and not shut out the public -- when it comes to the transportation of man's deadliest waste, which is nuclear waste.

[Refs: Steve Tetreault (Stephens Washington Bureau), "Waste shipment raises concerns; Some officials complain that DOE didn't tell them of plan to ship irradiated fuel assemblies", Las Vegas Review-Journal, August 13, 2003; and Las Vegas SUN, Editorial, "Secrecy envelops nuke waste", August 13, 2003]

Japan - City to tax spent fuel rods

Japan: Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has reluctantly agreed to accept a new local tax on spent nuclear fuel. The tax will be assessed by the city of Kashiwazaki in Niigata prefecture on spent fuel rods from TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant as early as this October. Reports indicate that TEPCO's acceptance is largely due to its recognition of the economic difficulties faced by communities near nuclear energy facilities. (Nuclear Market Review, 8 August, p2; see also News Briefing 03.24-14)

[Source: World Nuclear Association, WNA News Briefing NB03.32-13, August 12, 2003]

Diablo Canyon ISFSI opposition petition dismissed by ASLB

A petition filed by environmental groups claiming that Pacific Gas & Electric Co (PG&E) is not qualified to build an independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) at its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant has been dismissed by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB). The board concluded that the petitioners failed to give any evidence that PG&E was unqualified to carry out the project. Groups opposing the ISFSI said they would appeal the decision to the full Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The NRC will decide whether or not to grant a construction licence for the ISFSI in three months, after the environmental assessment and safety evaluation reports are completed. (Associated Press, 6 August; SpentFUEL, 11 August, p1; see also News Briefing 03.26-3)

[Source: World Nuclear Association, WNA News Briefing NB03.32-14, August 12, 2003]

August 6, 2003

* Ukraine - 3 ISFSIs considered for 2007 - Rovno, Khmelnitski and South Ukraine

* South Korea - Wido islet slated for LLRW/ILRW repository by 2008; spent fuel by 2016

* Harris - contaminated incoming spent fuel transport cask prompts questions from Public Citizen and NCWARN

July 21, 2003

* HLW Repository Corrosion Issues: localized vs uniform

July 9, 2003

* NAC-LWT cask CoC broadened to cover spent fuel from HTGR, TRIGA

July 3, 2003

Conn Yankee ISFSI wins big in Federal Court of Appeals

In a ruling released yesterday by federal appeals court, Connecticut Yankee's dry cask storage plan was upheld, and a lower court's $170,000-plus contempt fine assessed to the intervenor's lawyer was also upheld. The plant says "We're pleased..." The fined attorney stressed that the ruling, if upheld by Supreme Court, means that folks in small towns must give up such rights as enforcing their zoning laws and free speech too when a nuclear facility is involved. Nuclear.com would gladly tell you dear readers how it views the balancing performed by the courts, but how can one not be chilled from speaking freely when fines such as this are imposed. Nuclear.com will note that the notion reportedly upheld by the court, that an intervenor must live adjacent to the site to have standing, seems to be quite counterintuitive when there's radiation involved. That using these casks is, in nuclear.com's best judgement, safer than just about any activity a business might perform, doesn't make us any less sympathetic to letting folks have full and fair hearing, including in court.

[Source: Matthew Higbee (Middletown Press staff), "CY Wins Storage Appeal", The Middletown Press, July 3, 2003]

June 25, 2003

NRC/RES cladding tests confirm dry casks good for extra 20-100 years

At this week's meeting of NRC's Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste (ACNW), NRC’s Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research presented the results of testing on spent fuel of various ages and burnup rates performed as part of the Dry Cask Spent Fuel Storage Characterization Project. he tests were conducted to assure the fuel would not degrade, leading to cladding rupture. Tests to date confirm that spent fuel can be stored in dry casks for an additional 20 to 100 years. ACNW says it will continue to follow this program and is interested in the extrapolation of results to the long-term behavior (thousands of years) of the spent fuel and the implications of intact spent fuel cladding for the source term for the proposed HLW repository.

[Source: Summary Report - 143rd ACNW Meeting, June 23-25, 2003 [ML032030181] -- letter from Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste dated July 17, 2003]

June 23, 2003

* Japan urged to stop its rush to reprocess spent fuel

June 21, 2003

* Spent fuel pool fire could far exceed release at Chernobyl

* Vermont Yankee - spent fuel #s

* Vermont Yankee - spent fuel pool described

* Spent fuel pools - biggest security threat is probably small plane

* Spent fuel pools make poor targets for terrorist planes, missiles

* Spent fuel - dry cask storage much better, risk management-wise, than pools

June 19, 2003

* Salem/Hope Creek ISFSI plans - summary of June 19, 2003 presentation to NRC

June 18, 2003

* N-plants and spent fuel are like pre-deployed radiological weapons awaiting activation by an enemy

* Spent fuel storage could be hardened against attack

June 15, 2003

* Spent fuel - research looking at reducing waste life to 200 years instead of 10,000 years

May 27, 2003

Tunnel fire modeling

One of the questions about assuring safe transport of spent fuel involves characterizing the worst fire conditions that could affect a cask. A fire in a tunnel, such as one that occurred in Baltimore, has been analyzed by NRC. The analysis has come under fire (beg pardon, kind readers), fueled by a trade press article alleging NRC pressure on the contractors which allegedly influenced the analysis. Today, NRC released transcript and presentation slides from a May 8 meeting with representatives from the State of Nevada where the contractors described the methods and results of their analysis. Nevada was given the opportunity to ask about anything. The pdf files are available here:

photo - Baltimore tunnel opening

* transcript

* NRC presentation slides - overview of the NRC analysis effort

* NIST presentation slides - Howard Street Tunnel Fire Simulations

* CNWRA presentation slides - Analysis of Rail Car Components Exposed to a Tunnel Fire Environment

* PNNL presentation slides - cask analysis (the Baltimore Tunnel Evaluation)

photo - FDS validation experiment

May 25, 2003

Minnesota legislature passes dry cask storage bill to Governor

The Minnesota legislature sent a nuclear waste bill to the Governor today, after the House agreed to changes made by the Senate. It authorizes use and storage of enough spent fuel casks to get Prairie Island through its current license. If the plant's license gets renewed, the Public Utility Commission is responsible for determining whether to authorize additional spent fuel storage capacity. The Governor is expected to sign the bill into law.

[Source: Dane Smith, Mark Brunswick and David Phelps (Star Tribune), "Most legislators head home as negotiations continue", Star Tribune (Twin Cities), May 25, 2003]

May 23, 2003

ASLB ruling: Skull Valley meets seismic design criteria

An Atomic Safety and Licensing Board yesterday dismissed the seismic issues raised by state of Utah. The state is disappointed that NRC need only consider earthquakes of a magnitude expected once every 2,500 years. "The big one" expected once every 10,000 years, was what the state urged NRC to consider. The board ruled that "On the facts presented, we find that the applicant has met its burden of proof on all these seismic-related issues". [Source: Judy Fahys (The Salt Lake Tribune), "N-Waste Site Quake-Safe, Board Says", The Salt Lake Tribune, May 23, 2003]

May 20, 2003

Diablo Canyon ASLB to decide financial solvency question for ISFSI license

An NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board had an all-day hearing yesterday on the question of whether PG&E is financially solvent enough to warrant licensing of an Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation at Diablo Canyon. State and local government organizations are amongst those opposed to the proposed dry cask storage facility, and one of their arguments is that the utility failed to make a $10 million payment into the nuclear plant's decommissioning trust fund due to its bankruptcy. The utility assured the Board that there's no problem with funding operations, and that the missed decommissioning fund payment will be made. [Source: David Sneed (The Tribune), Lawyers object to PG&E license; Utility wants to build spent-fuel storage facility, San Luis Obispo Tribune, May. 20, 2003]

ISFSI cost over 20 years - more than $100-million estimate for Diablo Canyon

The proposed ISFSI at Diablo Canyon will cost more than $100 million to build, maintain and decommission over its 20-year life. PG&E wants to have the facility ready to accept the first cask containing spent fuel in 2006. [Source: David Sneed (The Tribune), Lawyers object to PG&E license; Utility wants to build spent-fuel storage facility, San Luis Obispo Tribune, May. 20, 2003]

May 19, 2003

Bulgaria to ship 20 tons of spent fuel to Russia

The Mayak reprocessing plant is the destination for a planned rail shipment of spent fuel from Kozloduy plant. None of the fuel will be reprocessed for three years yet. Much of it is not expected to be reprocessed at all, but is slated for long term storage. [Source: Bellona, Bulgaria to ship 20 tons spent nuclear fuel to Mayak plant, May 19, 2003]

Minnesota House oks more casks for Prairie Island

The state House today passed a bill authorizing more spent fuel storage casks at Prairie Island. The Star Tribune reporter was uncertain whether the Senate will agree to a House provision that transfers oversight on waste issues from legislature to Public Utilities Commission. The bill also requires Xcel to double spending on renewable energy to $16-million/yr. [Source: David Phelps, House passes nuclear waste storage after earlier defeat Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 20, 2003]

May 13, 2003

ISFSI - $25-million - $30-million construction cost estimate at Diablo Canyon

PG&E estimates it will cost between $25 million and $30 million to build the Diablo Canyon ISFSI. Constructing and loading each cask is expected to cost $1 million. [Source: Associated Press, News briefs from California's Central Coast, May 13, 2003

More spent fuel casks authorized for Prairie Island by State Senate

The state Senate of Minnesota worked into the wee hours and passed a bill last night to allow Prairie Island enough additional spent fuel casks to see the plant through current license. The bill removes future decisionmaking on casks from the legislature. That task, if necessary, will be performed by the Public Utilities Commission. The legislature gets final say on whether Prairie Island and Monticello can renew their license. The bill doubles the payments from Xcel to a fund supporting alternative energy, to about $17 million per year. The bill also requires Xcel to generate 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2015. The bill passed 42-24, and was considered a compromise: "It does keep the nuclear plants open," Sen. Ellen Anderson said. "And it moves us forward on a clean energy path." [Source: Patrick Howe (Associated Press Writer), "Senate passes nuclear waste bill", The Associated Press, May 13, 2003 3:09 AM Eastern Time]

May 12, 2003

N-plant airplane risk debate - spent fuel pools and casks

Despite post-Sept. 11 security upgrades, nuclear watchdogs say that elevated pools filled with spent fuel at the two plants [in Minnesota] are less protected than the largely below-grade pools at many plants. They say the terrorism risks are high enough to warrant packing most of the spent fuel into canisters and burying it until a permanent disposal site opens.

NRC and industry officials respond by pointing to the robust 3-to 5-foot-thick steel-reinforced concrete walls around the reactor containment buildings. They say similar walls, plus a thick inner lining of stainless steel, surround the Olympic-like pools that hold highly radioactive spent fuel after its removal from the reactors.

Industry officials also say the evidence indicates that even if terrorists blew a hole in one of the steel-and-concrete casks storing spent fuel outside the Prairie Island plant, it would not lead to a major radiation release.

... The main fear surrounding an aircraft attack on a nuclear plant is that the impact might cause such a large breach in a wall surrounding the reactor or spent fuel pool that backup water supplies could not keep up with the gush of escaping water. The water keeps the reactor and spent fuel from overheating.

Stanek said that about a month ago, while touring the Monticello plant, Pawlenty eyed the corrugated metal roof over the spent fuel pool. Like all boiling water plants, Monticello's pool is entirely above grade, making it easier to punch a hole through one of its walls. The governor wondered whether a plane could crash through the concrete wall surrounding the 38-foot-deep pool, Stanek said.

... Although elevated, Prairie Island's spent fuel pool has an extra layer of protection. Located inside a 100-foot-high building, it is surrounded by a huge concrete superstructure.

[Source: Greg Gordon (Star Tribune Washington Bureau Correspondent), "Pawlenty worried about airplane attack on nuclear plants", Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 12, 2003]

Spent fuel ocean-going boat retired; Greenpeace sez it failed safety test before transporting Australian fuel, too

... despite allocating $14 million in last year's budget to remove between 300 and 400 fuel rods from storage and transport them to France, where COGEMA is under contract to reprocess Australia's waste, the rods remain stored at Lucas Heights.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation says the shipment has been postponed "for operational reasons".

According to the St George & Sutherland Shire Leader, that "operational reason" may be a "lack of a purpose-built nuclear materials-carrying ship".

According to Carolin Wenzel of Greenpeace, the ship that carried the two previous shipments of spent fuel, the Beaugenais, has been retired due to its failure to meet safety standards.

"This ship failed to pass its last safety check prior to sailing with its last Australian nuclear cargo," she says.

[Source: Julie Macken, "Under A Nuclear Cloud", Australian Financial Review, May 12, 2003, p. 52]

First big Yucca Mountain contract awarded. $30-million down, $58-billion to go

"We are going to be making thousands of procurements for goods and services over the next four or five years, and many will be for millions of dollars," Bechtel SAIC spokesperson Beatrice Reilly said. The first big prize was awarded yesterday - a $29.7 million contract for Cogema Inc. to plan and design robotic machinery over the next 4-1/2 years.

[Source: Steve Tetreault (Stephens Washington Bureau), "Major Yucca contract awarded: $29.7 million to design robotics to handle packages of nuclear waste", Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 10, 2003]

April 30, 2003

Brunswick, Robinson look to dry cask storage

Dry cask storage RFP for Brunswick and Robinson plants was announced today by Progress Energy. The utility expects to choose one vendor to supply casks for both sites. Both plants have been transporting spent fuel to the utility's Harris plant for wet storage. "We plan to operate our plants for many years and evaluating all options for interim spent fuel storage makes the most sense for our plants and our customers," said C.S. "Scotty" Hinnant, Progress' senior vice president and chief nuclear officer.  "License renewal is under review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for Robinson and plans are underway to file for a Brunswick license renewal in 2004.  In addition, the rail containers currently used to ship spent fuel by the company will need to be relicensed or replaced after 2005.  Given these factors, the decision has been made to evaluate all options." [Source: Progress Energy press release, "Progress Energy exploring dry nuclear fuel storage facilities at Robinson, Brunswick nuclear plants", April 30, 2003]

April 23, 2003

Skull Valley - $1.12-million lobbyist fees to firm of former Sen. McClure (R-ID)

A consulting firm run by the former U.S. senator who helped write the federal law on storing radioactive waste has been paid more than $1 million to lobby Congress to support dumping spent nuclear reactor fuel in Utah.

Reports filed with Congress show that Private Fuel Storage, the group of utilities seeking to license a temporary nuclear waste storage facility on the Goshute Indian Reservation west of Salt Lake City, paid $1.12 million to the Washington, D.C., firm of McClure, Gerard and Neuenschwander Inc. from 1997 through June 2002, a span representing the first year the reports were required by law to the most recent disclosure available.

The firm is headed by Jim McClure, the former Idaho Republican state senator, congressman and three-term U.S. senator who authored the National Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. That law established a federal program to regulate interim and long-term storage facilities for high-level nuclear waste generated by civilian nuclear reactors. It paved the way for both the Yucca Mountain permanent waste repository in Nevada and the Skull Valley interim storage facility in Utah, both hotly opposed by each state's governor...

According to the reports filed under the Lobby Disclosure Act, PFS has paid McClure's firm an average of $200,000 annually the past six years to urge members of Congress to oppose various legislative proposals that would have blocked locating the waste dump in Utah, prohibited shipment of high-level waste to Utah or penalized the Goshute Tribe for agreeing in 1996 to host the $3 billion storage facility.

Besides McClure, others in the firm lobbying on behalf of the eight utilities seeking to transfer their nuclear waste to Utah include Tod Neuenschwander, McClure's former Senate chief of staff; Jack Gerard, the former legislative director for McClure who is the executive director of the National Mining Association; Nils Johnson, the former legislative director for current Republican U.S. Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho; and Joseph Findaro, the former deputy assistant secretary of Interior for water and science.

[Source: Christopher Smith (Washington correspondent), "Private Fuel Storage Pays Senator Turned Lobbyist Handsomely", The Salt Lake Tribune, April 23, 2003]

Revolving door Congress lobbyists - former Members have access advantage

In the revolving-door world of Washington politics, it is not unusual to find former members of Congress lobbying on issues for which they wrote the federal law. But watchdog groups say it raises questions about a lawmaker's true motivations while he or she was in office.

"Were his decisions while he was in office guided by the prospect that when he left he would make some serious money on this issue?" said Steve Weiss of the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington. "It's the way the game is played, but members of Congress who become high-priced lobbyists get access opportunities that other citizens don't have."

... Neither McClure nor his office returned calls seeking an interview.

[Source: Christopher Smith (Washington correspondent), "Private Fuel Storage Pays Senator Turned Lobbyist Handsomely", The Salt Lake Tribune, April 23, 2003]

Skull Valley - State of Utah has no unelected lobbyist in Washington

Although its five elected members of Congress oppose the Skull Valley project, the state of Utah has no professional lobbyist registered in the nation's capital to counter PFS's presence on Capitol Hill with McClure promoting the project.

[Source: Christopher Smith (Washington correspondent), "Private Fuel Storage Pays Senator Turned Lobbyist Handsomely", The Salt Lake Tribune, April 23, 2003]

Former Sen. McClure is ideal choice as lobbyist for offsite ISFSI project

Former Republican Idaho Lt. Gov. David Leroy of Boise, who also served as the nation's first nuclear waste negotiator, said McClure's political clout and expertise would be vital to any company seeking to develop a waste storage site away from the reactor that produces it.

"Hiring somebody of incredible political sophistication and connections is not only appropriate but absolutely necessary if you want a project of this magnitude to get through," said Leroy. "He's a virtuous gentleman and one of the very few members of Congress who was willing to spend his personal political capital to work on these very unattractive issues."

[Source: Christopher Smith (Washington correspondent), "Private Fuel Storage Pays Senator Turned Lobbyist Handsomely", The Salt Lake Tribune, April 23, 2003]

Skull Valley lobbyist accused of trumping the wishes of Utah

But Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group in Washington, said McClure's motivations for working the issue are far from noble.

"Obviously, the guy has totally cashed in," said Cook. "This is absolutely the way Washington works. You get the very best influence peddler money can by and they trump the facts and democracy every time, and in this case he is trumping the demonstrative opposition of an entire state."

[Source: Christopher Smith (Washington correspondent), "Private Fuel Storage Pays Senator Turned Lobbyist Handsomely", The Salt Lake Tribune, April 23, 2003]

Skull Valley lobbyist McClure has long been pro-nuclear

McClure retired from the Senate in 1991 after serving as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for most of the 1980s. In Washington, he frequently admonished Congress to re-energize public support for nuclear power after dangerous reactor accidents at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979 and Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union in 1986, as well as the multibillion-dollar bond default handed to ratepayers for five never-finished nuclear power plants in the Northwest.

"The opportunity to revive the nuclear option is not whether, but when, where and how," he declared in a 1990 Senate speech. "We must all exert leadership in restoring public confidence in the need for nuclear energy to meet this nation's requirements for safe, clean and economic electricity."

[Source: Christopher Smith (Washington correspondent), "Private Fuel Storage Pays Senator Turned Lobbyist Handsomely", The Salt Lake Tribune, April 23, 2003]

Sen. McClure's 1982 n-waste bill controversy - state veto amendment

After the House and Senate passed opposing bills to store highly radioactive waste generated by civilian reactors in late 1982, McClure drew up a "compromise" measure and was the floor manager in the Senate.

He orchestrated several amendments before getting the bill passed through the body and sending it to the House, which approved it during a last-minute scramble just before Christmas.

One of the amendments McClure secured on unanimous consent -- a voice vote -- was considered the deal maker: giving states veto power over having a nuclear waste storage facility located within their borders. Opposition evaporated and the entire legislation passed in 15 minutes, although weeks later, lawmakers complained that McClure had misrepresented the language of the amendment during the rush.

Instead of giving states more authority to block potential waste repositories, the amendment actually neutralized several state laws restricting nuclear plant development.

The amendment created such enmity that McClure's heavily favored bid to be Senate majority leader in 1983 nose dived into defeat as he became the first candidate eliminated after winning just five votes from fellow Republicans. At the time, Congressional Quarterly noted McClure's nuclear waste-state veto amendment controversy "cast a longer shadow over the leadership contest than anyone had predicted."

[Source: Christopher Smith (Washington correspondent), "Private Fuel Storage Pays Senator Turned Lobbyist Handsomely", The Salt Lake Tribune, April 23, 2003]

Yucca Mountain - transport difficulties transcend glib assurances, Nevada tells ACNW

A group of Nevada experts laid out the state's case on nuclear waste transportation before [NRC's Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste] Tuesday.

The experts said the Energy Department is underestimating the difficulties of devising a strategy to ship radioactive materials to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository.

The state's nuclear waste chief and five paid consultants outlined challenges facing the Yucca Mountain Project, including developing a railroad line to the repository site, devising a combination of rail and truck shipments, and safety testing the design of casks to be utilized in moving spent nuclear fuel from sites in 39 states.

"We ask that when you hear glib assurances from the department or any other party that they know exactly how the transportation system to Yucca Mountain will work, that you take that with a grain of salt," said Robert Halstead, Nevada's principal transportation adviser.

The Nevada consultants delivered a four-hour presentation to the Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste, which monitors the Yucca program for members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

[Source: Steve Tetreault (Stephens Washington Bureau), "YUCCA MOUNTAIN: Transport safety questioned; Nevadans say feds are underestimating difficulties of shipping nuclear waste", Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 23, 2003, p. 3B]

Yucca Mountain shipment # forecasts: DOE & Nevada explain their different estimates

Echoing past criticism, the Nevadans [told ACNW] it probably will take more than the 175 nuclear waste shipments per year that DOE estimates to fill the repository planned for 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

The DOE figures "grossly underestimate the nature, magnitude and scope required to support the repository program," said Bob Loux, head of Nevada's Agency for Nuclear Projects.

"This is all what we've heard before. There's nothing new here," said Allen Benson, Yucca Mountain Project spokesman. Benson said Nevada's estimates are inflated based on assumptions that the repository will hold more waste than currently planned.

[Source: Steve Tetreault (Stephens Washington Bureau), "YUCCA MOUNTAIN: Transport safety questioned; Nevadans say feds are underestimating difficulties of shipping nuclear waste", Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 23, 2003, p. 3B]

Yucca Mountain - rail line routing pitfalls cited by Nevada

Halstead [Robert Halstead, Nevada's principal transportation adviser] contended that the Energy Department will be handicapped in developing a rail line to Yucca Mountain because routes through Southern Nevada will run afoul of private development. The Air Force will declare the Nellis range unsuitable for a proposed route, while rough terrain and environmental issues will hamper suggested routes from Carlin and Caliente, he added.

[Source: Steve Tetreault (Stephens Washington Bureau), "YUCCA MOUNTAIN: Transport safety questioned; Nevadans say feds are underestimating difficulties of shipping nuclear waste", Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 23, 2003, p. 3B]

Spent fuel transport risk - focus on consequences, without considering probabilities, can lead public down wrong path

As the Nevadans discussed the risks associated with nuclear waste transportation, advisory board* member B. John Garrick noted that hazardous materials already travel through Las Vegas and other cities largely unnoticed.

Garrick said nuclear waste should be put in that context. He warned against "putting too much emphasis" on analyzing consequences of potential accidents without also weighing their risk in the first place. "We can lead the public down the wrong path very easily," he said.

* NRC's Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste

[Source: Steve Tetreault (Stephens Washington Bureau), "YUCCA MOUNTAIN: Transport safety questioned; Nevadans say feds are underestimating difficulties of shipping nuclear waste", Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 23, 2003, p. 3B]

Baltimore tunnel fire lessons for spent fuel transport - Nevada and NRC to meet on May 8, 2003 to compare conflicting research

Among other topics, a divide emerged between Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff and Nevada experts over analysis of the July 21, 2001, train derailment and subsequent fire in the Howard Street tunnel in Baltimore.

A Nevada analysis concluded that radioactive particles would have been released into the surrounding neighborhoods if the trapped cars had been carrying canisters of nuclear waste.

The state's findings contrast with two studies released by the NRC in March. Those concluded that a nuclear waste cask would have withstood fire conditions in the tunnel that were calculated to have reached 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit.

A thermal analysis by NRC staff, coordinated with the National Transportation Safety Board, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analysis and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, "concluded there would be no release of radioactive materials."

Marvin Resnikoff, a nuclear physicist and Nevada consultant, challenged the NRC studies, saying the Baltimore fire burned hotter than nuclear waste casks are designed to withstand.

Halstead [Robert Halstead, Nevada's principal transportation adviser] said Nevada analysts have been in a "running dispute with the NRC" over availability of data that the agency used in its study. A meeting has been set for May 8 to compare the reports. he said.

[Source: Steve Tetreault (Stephens Washington Bureau), "YUCCA MOUNTAIN: Transport safety questioned; Nevadans say feds are underestimating difficulties of shipping nuclear waste", Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 23, 2003, p. 3B]

Spent fuel shipping casks - Nevada's proposed fire testing

Halstead [Robert Halstead, Nevada's principal transportation adviser] said Nevada is forming a proposal for testing cask designs against severe fire. The plan will be presented to NRC scientists forming full-scale tests for several nuclear waste shipping casks.

[Source: Steve Tetreault (Stephens Washington Bureau), "YUCCA MOUNTAIN: Transport safety questioned; Nevadans say feds are underestimating difficulties of shipping nuclear waste", Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 23, 2003, p. 3B]

April 22, 2003

Spent fuel pools not much of a terror target

nuclear.com's favorite newsletter came in the mail today. Here's an excerpt you might find of interest:

"Acknowledging that the containment building could not be breached by running a jet aircraft into it, alarmists focus on the pool where spent fuel rods are stored. However, 'spent fuel pool radioactivity has lost the short-lived and most volatile products and has insufficient energy to disperse in hazardous forms. Even hypothesized zirconium fires would only burn cladding and structures, external to the fuel, adding little to the radioactivity release' (Science 2003;299:201-203).

"A General Electric study showed that even 1,000 tons of high explosives delivered by a small plane crashing into the pool would not disrupt fuel assemblies, which are under 9 or more feet of water, and that the potential for off-site radiation release is negligible (from CFRI General Position Paper GPP4).

"The Science article was drafted by Dr. Ed Zebroski, winner of the 2002 Edward Teller Award, after reading the widespread phrase 'Mobile Chernobyls' used in the media for fuel shipping casks. 'It struck me that this was worth noting as a record-breaking exaggeration (say 100 million fold on a risk scale of likely consequences), and that claims of vulnerability of nuclear facilities to disruption by large airplanes also seemed greatly exaggerated... Misinformation on risks is itself a risk of multiplying the panic effects of any real attack that might occur.'"

[Source: Doctors for Disaster Preparedness Newsletter, "Nuclear Terrorism", March 2003]

April 21, 2003 - Transcripts of NRC workshops on Spent Fuel Transportation Cask Testing Protocols were released via NRC's ADAMS system today.
* March 6 in Rockville Maryland [ML030930583, 293 pp],
* March 12 in Las Vegas [ML030930588, 336 pp],
* March 13 in Pahrump Nevada [ML030930593, 139 pp], and
* March 19 in Rosemont Illinois [ML030930601, 290 pp].

Comment: The transcripts were released as enclosures to a letter from NRC official replying to request from a County Commissioner in Nevada. The Commissioner asked for ten copies of one of the transcripts. NRC sent the ten hard copies, and also mentioned that that particular transcript was also available via the web at http://ttd.sandia.gov/nrc/modal.htm. nuclear.com wishes that NRC had called the Commissioner and told her that she could download the file instead of copying and mailing. That such was not done reflects, nuclear.com suspects, a "culture" that doesn't bode well for our spent fuel prospects. [Ref: letter from Robert J. Lewis (SFPO section chief for Transportation and Storage Safety and Inspection Section) to Nye County Nevada Commissioner Ms. Candice Trummell, "Package Performance Study March 2003 Public Meeting Transcripts", April 10, 2003. ML031000182]

April 15, 2003

* McGuire-2 has an old bent fuel rod, NRC OKs plan to degas and store it

April 12, 2003 - The conference report of House and Senate on supplemental FY2003 appropriations includes $2-million "to conduct vulnerability assessments for spent nuclear fuel casks". Other highlights here.

--- Reports released by NRC on April 1, 2003:

* NAC cask fabrication report 72-1015-2003-201

* Transnuclear cask fabrication report 72-1004-2003-201

Oct 10, 2002 - Spent fuel transshipments to Harris travel via vulnerable rail route, sez Special Forces vet

March 1979

* One year's-worth of spent fuel from one plant could induce millions of cancer deaths - Bernard Cohen (1978), nuclear.com info nugget



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