By Rod Baltzer
If you’ve got about three minutes and 35 seconds to spare, I hope you’ll take a moment and click here to watch a video summary of the recent Congressional visit to the WCS site. We’ve tried to give you a feel for the existing facilities at our Andrews County location and – at the same time – let you envision where our proposed Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) would be located on our 14,000 acre footprint.
Along with our partners – AREVA and NAC International – all of us at WCS are hopeful about the prospects for a CISF. No doubt there are some lingering issues that have to be addressed at the federal level, but I believe that if we can bring an interim storage facility on line, it could invigorate the entire used nuclear fuel management program in the United States.
A CISF allows the federal government (DOE) to take title to used nuclear fuel and remove it from nuclear power plants. Fuel from permanently shut-down and stranded plants could be a priority which would allow those existing interim spent fuel storage areas to be repurposed, while providing cost savings from terminating those licenses. It would also allow a transportation system, necessary to move this used fuel to a CISF or a permanent repository, to be developed and tested. Eventually, this material will have to go to a repository and it’s going to be a lot easier to manage fuel loading at an active site rather than a shuttered location.
The bottom line: Consolidation of multiple sites will result in savings in licensing and security. Federal expenditures on transportation issues will result in real progress instead of more studies. We’ll have an opportunity to reduce payments from the unappropriated Judgment fund. And that’s all good.
Best of all, if we are successful, we’d have the capacity to take approximately 80 percent of the used nuclear fuel (UNF) and Greater than Class C waste currently stranded at shut down nuclear generating plants.