Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 February 2018
Current practice for commercial spent nuclear fuel management in the United States of America (US) includes storage of spent fuel in both pools and dry storage cask systems at nuclear power plants. Most storage pools are filled to their operational capacity, and management of the approximately 2,200 metric tons of spent fuel newly discharged each year requires transferring older and cooler fuel from pools into dry storage. In the absence of a repository that can accept spent fuel for permanent disposal, projections indicate that the US will have approximately 134,000 metric tons of spent fuel in dry storage by mid-century when the last plants in the current reactor fleet are decommissioned. Current designs for storage systems rely on large dual-purpose (storage and transportation) canisters that are not optimized for disposal. Various options exist in the US for improving integration of management practices across the entire back end of the nuclear fuel cycle.
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