US unveils new spent fuel strategy

15 January 2013

The strategy, which addresses the proposals of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, proposes construction of a pilot interim storage facility for used nuclear fuel, starting up by 2021, and ultimately a repository by 2048.

It also envisages "a larger interim storage facility to be available by 2025." This facility would "allow for acceptance of enough used nuclear fuel to reduce expected government liabilities," the report said.

The government would also work towards a geological repository by 2048, according to the strategy document. It said that over the next ten years the aim is to make 'demonstrable' progress on the siting and characterization of repository sites. The Administration's goal is to have a repository sited by 2026; the site characterized, and the repository designed and licensed by 2042.

The government would work towards a geological repository by 2048,

The US abandoned the Yucca Mountain project in 2010, after spending $9 billion and two decades trying to develop it into a repository.

DOE said that the new programme will provide both 'near-term and long-term solutions' for managing the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle, thereby resolving a longtime source of conflict in nuclear policy by providing safe, secure, and permanent disposal.

It did note however, that legislation would be needed "in the near term" to allow siting, design and licensing work to begin.


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