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U.S. Department of Energy Provides Report to Congress on the Demonstration of the Interim Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel from Decommissioned Nuclear Power Reactor Sites

December 9, 2008 - 8:51am

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Washington D.C. - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released its Report to Congress on the Demonstration of the Interim Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel from Decommissioned Nuclear Power Reactor Sites (DOE/RW-0596, December 2008).  The report was prepared pursuant to direction in the House Appropriations Committee Report that accompanied the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 that the Department develop a plan to take custody of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) currently stored at decommissioned reactor sites.

The Department has reviewed its authority to accept SNF from decommissioned commercial nuclear power reactor sites for interim storage and has concluded that under present law it has no such authority.

"The Department has concluded that, without legislation, a demonstration project accepting spent nuclear fuel from decommissioned nuclear reactor sites could not be completed in the near term and would not reduce taxpayer costs for waste disposal," Director of DOE's Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management Ward Sproat said.

The report discusses the status of the commercial SNF inventory in the United States, at both decommissioned and operating commercial nuclear power reactor sites; summarizes the contractual arrangement the Government and utilities have under the Standard Contract for Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and/or High-Level Radioactive Waste (10 CFR Part 961), related litigation, and the financial liabilities resulting from the Department's delay in performance under these contracts; provides a history of interim storage policy as it relates to commercial SNF in the United States; and identifies legislative changes and actions that would be necessary for the Department to develop an interim storage facility and demonstration program for commercial SNF from the decommissioned reactor sites.

A copy of this report is available from the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management.

Media contact(s):

Allen Benson, (702) 794-1322

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