United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment


NRC Seal NRC NEWS
U. S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
Office of Public Affairs Telephone: 301/415-8200
Washington, DC 20555-001 E-mail: opa@nrc.gov

No. 99-56

March 19, 1999

NRC ISSUES LICENSE TO DOE FOR STORAGE OF TMI-2 FUEL IN IDAHO

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards has issued a license to the Department of Energy (DOE) to permit nuclear fuel debris from the Three Mile Island Unit 2 accident to be placed in dry storage at an independent spent fuel storage facility on the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) reservation near Idaho Falls.

The debris is currently in wet storage at INEEL.

The fuel debris was moved from the Three Mile Island Unit 2 site to INEEL in a series of shipments between 1986 and 1990. It was placed in wet pool storage for both study and safekeeping. In response to litigation, DOE signed a settlement agreement with the State of Idaho and others in which DOE agreed to construct a dry storage facility for the debris, thus allowing for the eventual decommissioning of the pool.

The fuel debris canisters will be loaded into steel overpacks known as dry storage canisters. The overpack canisters will then be welded closed and transported in an NRC-approved shielded transfer cask the 20-mile distance from the present pool to the new dry storage facility, all within the INEEL reservation. At the new installation, the dry storage canisters will be loaded into one of 30 heavily reinforced concrete storage vaults known as horizontal storage modules.

The independent spent fuel storage installation license is for 20 years. NRC regulations permit DOE to request renewal.

This is the first independent spent fuel storage license issued by NRC to DOE. Regulations governing the facility are the same ones that commercial, non-government applicants must meet.

Copies of the "License Application for the INEL TMI-2 Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation," as well as the "Safety Evaluation Report of Three Mile Island Unit 2 Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation Safety Analysis Report," are available by written request to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Distribution Services, Washington, DC 20555-0001. They may also be reviewed at the NRC Public Document Room, 2120 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 205555-0001.

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