U.S. Regulators Find No Need to Hasten Spent Nuclear Fuel Transfers

Global Security Newswire Staff
May 28, 2014, 10:25 a.m.

U.S. reg­u­lat­ors have op­ted against or­der­ing the ex­ped­ited trans­fer of spent atom­ic fuel from above-ground pools to dry casks, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports.

The Nuc­le­ar Reg­u­lat­ory Com­mis­sion de­cided to abide by an in­tern­al ad­vise­ment to cease ex­plor­ing the idea of re­quir­ing atom­ic en­ergy plants to speed up the re­mov­al of used fuel from stor­age pools to met­al and con­crete con­tain­ers, ac­cord­ing to a Fri­day com­mis­sion memo.

“The com­mis­sion has ap­proved the staff’s re­com­mend­a­tion that this … activ­ity be closed and that no fur­ther gen­er­ic as­sess­ments be pur­sued re­lated to pos­sible reg­u­lat­ory ac­tions to re­quire the ex­ped­ited trans­fer of spent fuel to dry cask stor­age,” states the memo by Rochelle Ba­vol, act­ing com­mis­sion sec­ret­ary.

A num­ber of U.S. law­makers and act­iv­ists have cri­ti­cized the nuc­le­ar en­ergy in­dustry’s long­stand­ing prac­tice of keep­ing large quant­it­ies of highly ra­dio­act­ive atom­ic ma­ter­i­al in lightly pro­tec­ted stor­age pools. Their con­cern is that wa­ter sur­round­ing the used fuel could es­cape its con­tain­er and lead to the dis­pers­al of harm­ful ra­di­ation in­to the en­vir­on­ment in the event of an earth­quake, flood or ter­ror­ist at­tack.

Last year, com­mis­sion staff con­cluded that mov­ing spent fuel to dry cask stor­age would not res­ult in safety im­prove­ments great enough to war­rant the ex­tra fin­an­cial cost that would come with im­ple­ment­ing the meas­ure.

Bill Dean, Nuc­le­ar Reg­u­lat­ory Com­mis­sion north­east re­gion­al ad­min­is­trat­or, in an in­ter­view said the reg­u­lat­or had de­term­ined that both dry casks and pools were “ad­equate stor­age pro­cesses for spent fuel, and there is not a sig­ni­fic­ant safety be­ne­fit to re­quir­ing full trans­fer to dry cask stor­age.”

U.S. Sen­at­or Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was one of five sen­at­ors to write to the com­mis­sion’s head in re­cent weeks to warn against eas­ing safety and se­cur­ity reg­u­la­tions for moth­balled ci­vil­ian re­act­ors.

“We are one nat­ur­al dis­aster, mech­an­ic­al fail­ure or ter­ror­ist at­tack away from a dis­aster,” Sanders said in a Tues­day state­ment. “If the NRC will not change the rules, I will con­tin­ue to work with my col­leagues to change the rules through le­gis­la­tion.”

Cla­ri­fic­a­tion: This art­icle was mod­i­fied after pub­lic­a­tion to cla­ri­fy the po­ten­tial for ra­di­ation leaks.

What We're Following See More »
SUFFOLK POLL
New Survey Shows Clinton Up 9 in Pennsylvania
17 minutes ago
THE LATEST

If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."

Source:
$500 MILLION PROJECT
Obama Library Heading to Jackson Park in Chicago
35 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

"President Barack Obama has chosen Jackson Park, a lakefront park that once hosted the world’s fair on the city’s South Side, for his $500 million presidential library, according to a person familiar with the matter."

Source:
THREE NIGHTS RUNNING
Democrats Beat Republicans in Convention Ratings So Far
56 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Many VIPs Were the Secret Service Protecting in Philly Last Night?
2 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Seven, according to an official Secret Service tweet.

Source:
‘MOGUL,’ ‘DAREDEVIL’
Candidates’ Code Names Revealed
3 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Clintons will retain their Secret Service "code names from the last time they lived in the White House. Hillary Clinton is EVERGREEN and Bill ClintonEAGLE. Donald Trump is MOGUL, according to reports, and Melania Trump MUSE. The vice presidents get code names, too: Mike Pence is HOOSIER—a little on the nose—and his wife HUMMINGBIRD. Tim Kaine is DAREDEVIL, somewhat ambitiously. His wife's? To be determined."

Source:
×