I joined long time FAS Member Cliff Singer at a Center for Strategic & International Studies event to release a new report titled “U.S. Spent Nuclear Fuel.” Co-authored by Singer, Jack Spencer, Sharon Squassoni, and myself, the report provides a market-based solution to the spent nuclear fuel management in the United States.
“This report envisions a market-driven approach, which would include eight components:
- Phase out utilities’ payments to the federal government for spent fuel management in favor of payments into escrow funds.
- Reassess the radioisotope containment criteria for spent fuel repositories (i.e., the “million-year” benchmark).
- Do not require prompt deep burial of all spent fuel.
- Provide federal support for preparation of licenses for away-from-reactor spent fuel storage facilities.
- Remove nontechnical restrictions on maximum volumes and site license durations for away-from-reactor spent fuel management facilities.
- Treat all states equally in voluntary licensing processes, including Nevada.
- Allow the private sector options to: keep spent fuel at reactor sites; ship it to another of their reactor sites in the same state; ship it to a reactor site of another company in the same state and transfer the escrow fund balance to that company; or ship it out of state. Shipments out of state could be to a spent fuel storage facility that might or might not be located at a licensed deep underground repository, to a repository for prompt emplacement, or to a reprocessing facility if one is available.
- Allow states to import foreign spent fuel, to the extent consistent with U.S. nonproliferation policy and U.S. facilities’ capacity to handle domestic spent nuclear fuel.”