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Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation Sub-Arena

Spent fuel storage and transportation comprises one of three sub-arenas that the staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) identified in considering which areas of the waste management arena to target for greater use of risk information. This page summarizes the following aspects of this sub-arena:

Objective

Utilize risk information on a case-by-case basis to prioritize and address regulatory initiatives in spent fuel storage and radioactive materials transportation.

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Basis

SECY-99-100 and SECY-04-0182, as well as the related staff requirements memorandum (SRM), provide the conceptual framework for risk-informing the NRC's waste activities. Guidance on how to apply this framework is provided in "Risk-Informed Decision-Making for Material and Waste Applications". In particular, individual risk-informed applications must meet the established screening criteria.

In this subarena, the NRC staff is limited in its ability to risk-inform the agency's regulatory activities because it is not cost-beneficial to perform risk-assessment of each of the numerous storage or transport designs. As a result, the agency has conducted (or sponsored) risk assessments for a few selected designs. In addition, the staff may apply risk assessments to specific activities on a case-by-case basis, provided that the screening criteria are met. For example, the staff has completed and documented a pilot study PRA of a dry cask storage facility, and determined that the risk from that facility was negligibly small.

The goal described below meets the screening criterion for cost/benefit by assessing risk impacts by judgment.

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Goals

The staff has established the following goal for risk-informed and performance-based activities in this subarena:

  • Produce updated versions of NUREG-1536, "Standard Review Plan for Dry Cask Storage Systems," and NUREG-1567, "Standard Review Plan for Spent Fuel Dry Storage Facilities."

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List of Risk-Informed and Performance-Based Activities

This list shows the ongoing licensing initiatives, projects, and activities that the staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has targeted for greater use of risk information in the Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation Sub-Arena within the Reactor Safety Arena:

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Enhance Regulatory Framework for Extended Storage and Transportation

Summary Description

Extended Storage and Transportation (EST) Regulatory Program Review responds to the Commission's direction in SRM-COMSECY-10-0007 to conduct a thorough review of the regulatory programs for spent nuclear fuel (SNF) storage and transportation, and to evaluate their adequacy for ensuring safe and secure storage of SNF for extended periods of time.

FY 2015 Status

Over the past year, the staff has continued its focus on technical areas where additional information is needed to inform program decisions as documented on 2015 Annual Status Report (SECY-15-0076). During this period, the staff has also begun developing the necessary means to translate this technical information into potential changes in the existing regulatory framework for the Commission's consideration. As has been the case since 2014 Annual Status Report (SECY-14-0057), the staff anticipates that EST efforts are more likely to lead to changes in staff guidance and inspection procedures, rather than changes in regulations.

Risk Category

Infrastructure development in support of risk-informed regulations

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Regulatory Framework for Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation

Summary Description

The goal of this effort is to develop a framework for spent fuel storage to enable the staff to perform a more risk-informed regulatory review, improve guidance, streamline casework activities, help assess 10 CFR 72.48 changes, and evaluate requests for exemptions to the regulation while maintaining appropriate margins of safety and security. During the past year, NMSS/DSFM developed a scoping and implementation plan for risk-informing storage regulatory activities. Several tasks in this plan have been completed. These include identifying applicable risk information and defining the application of defense-in-depth for dry cask storage. The effort is currently focused on developing a decision metric that incorporates a surrogate risk measurement that does not require a detailed consequence calculation. NMSS/DSFM will be engaging stakeholders to solicit input in the near future. The remaining tasks in the implementation plan include defining and applying the risk-informed approach to a pilot; finalize the risk-informing approach; and develop staff training.

FY 2015 Status

At present, this effort is focused on developing a decision metrics that would simplify the implementation of risk. This current effort includes engaging stakeholders to solicit input.

Risk Category

Infrastructure development in support of risk-informed regulations -- the completion of tasks in the scoping and implementation plan for risk-informing storage regulatory activities are expected to benefit a variety of regulatory initiatives.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, July 06, 2016