Commentary November 6, 2020

Private, centralized storage for spent nuclear fuel: A dead end or path forward?

How should the United States manage more than 80,000 metric tons of highly radioactive spent fuel currently sitting in storage at 72 commercial nuclear plants across the country?
Rendering of the proposed HI-STORE Consolidated Interim Storage Facility in New Mexico.
Rendering of the proposed HI-STORE Consolidated Interim Storage Facility in New Mexico. Holtec International

I was surprised this summer to see a letter to the editor about nuclear waste in The Vermont Standard, a small weekly paper whose most interesting regular features are the police report and calendar of local events.  The letter encouraged readers to contact Vermont’s Congressman and urge him to oppose any bill that would authorize the centralized interim storage of high-level nuclear waste, referring to the spent fuel from the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant that was shut down in 2014. The writers argued that instead of allowing the spent fuel to be shipped to a site in Texas, “it is safer to keep our waste within our state in monitored, hardened, on-site storage in stainless steel and concrete dry casks while a scientifically-based permanent storage site is located.”

Read the rest at  Bulletin of Atomic Scientists