Used fuel pools are typically 40 or more feet deep, with the bottom 14 ft equipped with storage racks designed to hold the used-fuel assemblies. The used fuel bundles’ temperature decrease significantly between 2 and 4 years, and less from 4 to 6 years.

Used fuel pools are typically 40 or more feet deep, with the bottom 14 ft equipped with storage racks designed to hold the used-fuel assemblies. The used fuel bundles’ temperature decrease significantly between 2 and 4 years, and less from 4 to 6 years.

During mid November, Evaristo (Tito) Bonano (senior manager of Sandia’s Advanced Nuclear Energy Group) and Sylvia Saltzstein (manager of Sandia’s Storage and Transportation Technologies Dept.) attended three meetings in Tokyo, Japan.

The first two meetings focused on international R&D progress in storage and transportation of used nuclear fuel and were sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the US Electric Power Research Institute. Tito and Sylvia gave presentations on the current used fuel storage and transportation R&D efforts within the national labs, as well as “Public Acceptance and Preferences for Used Nuclear Fuel Management in the US” and “Integration of Storage, Transport, and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel.”

Nuclear Regulatory Commission 2008 guidelines call for fuels to spend at least 5 years in a storage pool before being moved to dry casks. The industry norm is ~10 years.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission 2008 guidelines call for fuels to spend at least 5 years in a storage pool before being moved to dry casks. The industry norm is ~10 years.

These two meetings comprised ~30 participants who each gave a presentation and participated in dialogue pertaining to current R&D efforts to develop the technical basis for the long-term storage and transportation of used nuclear fuel. Participants were from Japan, Pakistan, Poland, Slovenia, the UK, the US, Argentina, the European Union, Germany, France, Lithuania, Spain, and the Russian Federation. There was excellent dialog and sharing of testing, data, and experience within this international community.

A typical used nuclear fuel shipping cask mounted on a railroad car.

A typical used nuclear fuel shipping cask mounted on a railroad car.

On Friday, November 14th, Tito and Sylvia each presented a seminar to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan (NUMO). Dr. Bonano presented “Performance Assessment Methodology for Deep Geologic Disposal” and Ms. Saltzstein presented “Public Acceptance and Preferences for Used Nuclear Fuel Management in the US.” Discussions followed on potential future collaborations between Sandia and NUMO in the area of public acceptance of used nuclear waste management and probabilistic risk assessment for storage, transportation, and disposal of used nuclear fuel.