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Government Earth Power Science

New NRC Rule Supports Indefinite Storage of Nuclear Waste 191

mdsolar writes in with news about a NRC rule on how long nuclear waste can be stored on-site after a reactor has shut down. The five-member board that oversees the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday voted to end a two-year moratorium on issuing new power plant licenses. The moratorium was in response to a June 2012 decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that ordered the NRC to consider the possibility that the federal government may never take possession of the nearly 70,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel stored at power plant sites scattered around the country. In addition to lifting the moratorium, the five-member board also approved guidance replacing the Waste Confidence Rule. "The previous Waste Confidence Rule determined that spent fuel could be safely stored on site for at least 60 years after a plant permanently ceased operations," said Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the NRC. In the new standard, Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel Rule, NRC staff members reassessed three timeframes for the storage of spent fuel — 60 years, 100 years and indefinitely.
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New NRC Rule Supports Indefinite Storage of Nuclear Waste

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  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @07:26PM (#47770471)

    Which is the bargain and which is the stupid, shortsighted compromise?

    The compromise is the bargain, and it isn't stupid or shortsighted. A central repository would be extremely expensive. Billions were spent on Yucca Mountain, just on analysis and legal fees. On-site storage is "good enough" for now, and nukes will require security guards regardless. We can build the centralized storage facility in a few decades when our understanding of geology, robotics, engineering, etc. will have progressed. Or even more likely, by then we will have figured out economic uses for many of the waste components, and the "waste" will no longer need to be disposed of.

  • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @07:43PM (#47770587)

    Yucca mountain is a no go for political reasons, not scientific ones, so what else can we do?

    The really sad thing is that there still is a lot of useable fuel in all that if we here allowed to reprocess it. Not to mention that reprocessing would greatly reduce the size of the high level waste. Carter really messed up with that decision...

    So, for now, it's store in place and guard the stuff. But this is only really a problem until it cools enough to not require being under water anymore. After that guarding it isn't that hard or expensive. It can be packaged in such a way that getting into it would take hours and industrial equipment. Guarding it just means walking by every day or so and making sure nobody is messing with the containers.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay