United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment
Home > NRC Library > Basic References > Glossary > Dry cask storage

Dry cask storage

A method for storing spent nuclear fuel above ground in special containers known as casks. After fuel has been cooled in a spent fuel pool for at least 1 year, dry cask storage allows approximately one to six dozen spent fuel assemblies to be sealed in casks and surrounded by inert gas. The casks are large, rugged cylinders, made of steel or steel-reinforced concrete (18 or more inches thick or 45.72 or more centimeters). They are welded or bolted closed, and each cask is surrounded by steel, concrete, lead, or other material to provide leak-tight containment and radiation shielding. The casks may be placed horizontally in aboveground concrete bunkers, or vertically in concrete vaults or on concrete pads. For additional detail, see Dry Cask Storage and Dry Spent Fuel Storage Designs: NRC Approved for General Use.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, February 23, 2015