NRC staff okays spent fuel storage in Utah

29 November 2000

A proposed privately-financed spent fuel storage facility in Tooele County, Utah, would be safe and meet regulatory requirements, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has concluded in a safety evaluation report (SER).

In 1997, Private Fuel Storage LLC, a consortium of utilities led by Xcel in Minnesota, proposed to build the facility on land owned by the Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians. PFS wants to use it to store spent fuel generated by US commercial nuclear plants for a 20-year period until a permanent, government-owned repository is ready.

The NRC staff said the applicants demonstrated that the facility would satisfy applicable NRC safety requirements during normal, unusual, and accident conditions. PFS analysed how well the facility would stand up against a variety of hazards, including cask drops, flood, fire, lightning, earthquake, tornadoes, nearby explosions and aircraft crashes.

The proposed facility would use Holtec International HI-STORM 100 storage casks.

A final environmental impact statement is scheduled for completion in early 2001. Another round of public hearings is also scheduled for next summer.

PFS’s proposal must also be approved by three other federal agencies – the Surface Transportation Board, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
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