Currently, over 70 percent of U.S. spent fuel assemblies are kept in cooling pools at U.S. reactor sites. “This material is not irradiated spent fuel and would be eligible for disposal at WIPP as transuranic wastes. For details, see the following: Controlled Unclassified Information Program (CUI), Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF), Regulations, Guidance, and Communications, Division of Fuel Management Licensing Process Expectations, Division of Spent Fuel Management Regulatory Conference, Locations of Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations, Dry Spent Fuel Storage Designs: NRC Approved for General Use, Schedule for Rulemakings to Amend Part 72.214 for Dry Storage Casks, Materials Safeguards and Threat Assessment, Proposed Security Rulemaking for Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations, Resource estimates for common licensing and oversight activities in Storage and Transportation, ISFSI Inspection Enhancement Implementation Status. The spent-fuel-pool approach involves storing spent fuel assemblies in large pools of water that cool the assemblies and provide shielding from the radiation. The spent fuel pools in boiling-water reactors are located only within the secondary containment of the reactor—the reactor building—and not within the more robust primary containment that is designed to keep radiation released from the reactor vessel during an emergency event from escaping into the environment. Because no permanent repository for spent fuel exists in the United States, reactor owners have kept spent fuel at the reactor sites. This can be achieved with existing technologies. Dry cask storage allows spent fuel already cooled in a spent fuel pool for several years to be stored inside a container, called a cask, filled with inert gas. The spent fuel, which generates considerable heat and radiation, is placed into deep pools of water at the reactor site where it can be stored safely. By then it is cool enough that further cooling can be accomplished by natural convection—air flow driven by the decay heat of the spent fuel itself. During a nuclear reaction, fuel rods generate a tremendous amount of heat. NRC is not requiring accelerated transfer of SNF from wet pools to dry casks, but the SNF storage data from the last several years indicate that accelerated transfer has already been occurring. Therefore there is no pressing safety or security reason to mandate earlier transfer of fuel from pool to cask. The used nuclear fuel rods stored in cans have never hurt a fly much less killed a person. Climate change is one of the most devastating problems humanity has ever faced—and the clock is running out. The spent-fuel-pool approach involves storing spent fuel assemblies in large pools of water that cool the assemblies and provide shielding from the radiation. These facilities would store spent fuel from commercial nuclear power plants until a permanent disposal facility is available. We're arming the new administration with facts, evidence, and science. These pools act both as a shield and a coolant for the fuel. Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, December 23, 2020. Currently spent fuel rods are sent to France where they are reprocessed. The NRC regulates spent fuel through a combination of regulatory requirements, licensing; safety and security oversight, including inspection, assessment of performance; and enforcement; operational experience evaluation; and regulatory support activities. We use cookies to improve your experience. All spent fuel should be transferred from wet to dry storage within five years of discharge from the reactor core. In order to prevent the spent fuel from going critical, the spent fuel assemblies are placed in metal boxes whose walls contain neutron-absorbing boron. 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