GAO Report: Spent Nuclear Fuel Stored Onsite Could Double Before Disposal
From Power Magazine
One option to temporarily resolve the nuclear waste conundrum is to transfer spent fuel from wet to dry storage, the GAO said. This has costs and risks—including those associated with moving it—but it would allow safe storage of spent fuel for decades after nuclear reactors retire. However, the length of time that spent fuel can be safely stored in dry casks is "uncertain," the report noted. Though experts say it can safely be stored for about 100 years, an NRC determination in December 2010 stated that spent fuel can be stored for up to 60 years beyond the licensed life of the reactor in a combination of wet and dry storage.
In a landmark decision, a federal appeals court this June remanded that determination back to the NRC, saying it lacked a necessary environmental impact statement. The NRC later this August voted not to issue final licenses dependent on the determination until it could address the court's remand. The agency is meanwhile preparing an environmental impact statement on the effects of storing spent fuel for 200 years.