Commercial nuclear power plants have been producing and storing spent nuclear fuel (SNF) for over 60 years. However, no disposal process has ever been implemented. When a disposition path is implemented, a large-scale system for transporting the SNF will be needed. Many parts of such a transportation system are destination independent and thus can be developed to ensure availability when destination decisions are made.
The 3 primary elements of a large-scale SNF transportation system are 1) Intergovernmental and External Engagement, 2) Operations and 3) Hardware. Development in all 3 areas is ongoing with focus on long lead-time needs. Key activities include development of stakeholder relationships including meetings with State Regional Groups and tribes several times a year, study of the shutdown sites and the processes that would be needed to remove the SNF from these sites, and development of a railcar compliant with AAR standards for transport of high-level waste.
By proactively developing long-lead time needs for a SNF transportation system, the safe and secure transport of this material can be assured once interim storage and/or repository destinations are ready for use.
Department of Energy (DOE)
Matthew R. Feldman, Kevin J. Connolly, William (Bill) J. Reich, Oscar A. Martinez, Abiodun Idowu Adeniyi