GE Hitachi applies to renew used fuel storage facility licence

8 July 2021

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said on 6 July that staff had received and was considering an application for the renewal of special nuclear materials (SNM) Licence No. SNM-2500, which currently authorises GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas (GEH), to possess, transfer, and store radioactive material at the Morris Operation. The renewed licence would authorise GEH to continue to store radioactive material for an additional 20 years from 31 May, 2022, the expiration date of the current licence. Any request for a hearing or petition for leave to intervene must be filed by 30 August.

The NRC said it had received, by letter dated 30 June 2020, supplemented by letters dated 26 February, 19 March and 24 March 2021, an application from GEH for renewal of the SNM Licence for the Morris Operation for an additional 20 years. The licence authorises GEH to possess, transfer, and store radioactive material at the Morris Operation located in Grundy County, Illinois, near Morris, Illinois. This licence renewal, if approved, would authorise GEH to continue to store existing radioactive material at the Morris Operation but no additional radioactive material will be authorised for storage under the licence renewal, if approved.

This is the second time GE Hitachi has applied to renew the Morris ISFSI licence for a 20-year term. The company submitted the current renewal application in June 2020. Morris ISFSI, formerly the Midwest Fuel Recovery Plant, the was originally designed as a used fuel reprocessing plant. The Atomic Energy Commission licensed the plant in 1971 but terminated the plant’s construction permit three years later. NRC issued the Morris ISFSI its first 20-year licence in 1982, and GE filed to renew the licence for a second 20-year term in 2000. The facility stores used fuel from the Connecticut Yankee, Cooper, Dresden, Monticello, and San Onofre NPPs in two interconnected, water-filled basins. The basins are full, and the facility has not received any new used fuel since 1989. The Morris Operation is the only permanent de facto high-level radioactive waste storage site in the USA and holds 772 tons of used nuclear fuel. Storage is limited to the current inventory.

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