United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Consequence Study of a Beyond-Design-Basis Earthquake Affecting the Spent Fuel Pool for a U.S. Mark I Boiling Water Reactor (NUREG-2161)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: October 2013
Date Published:
September 2014

Prepared by:
Andrew Barto, Y. James Chang, Keith Compton,
Hossein Esmaili, Donald Helton, Andrew Murphy,
Andrew Nosek, Jose Pires, Fred Schofer, and
Brian Wagner

Donald Algama, NRC Project Manager
Katie Wagner, Former NRC Project Manager

Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

Availability Notice


The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission performed this consequence study to continue its examination of the risks and consequences of postulated spent fuel pool accidents. The study provides publicly available consequence estimates of a hypothetical spent fuel pool accident initiated by a low likelihood seismic event at a specific reference plant. The study compares high-density and low-density loading conditions and assesses the benefits of post 9/11 mitigation measures. Past risk studies have shown that storage of spent fuel in a high-density configuration is safe and risk of a large release due to an accident is very low. This study’s results are consistent with earlier research conclusions that spent fuel pools are robust structures that are likely to withstand severe earthquakes without leaking. The NRC continues to believe, based on this study and previous studies that high density storage of spent fuel in pools protects public health and safety. The study’s results will inform a broader regulatory analysis of the spent fuel pools at U.S. nuclear reactors as part of the Japan Lessons-learned Tier 3 plan.