NRC Approves Interim Spent Fuel Site In Texas

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it had issued a license to Interim Storage Partners LLC to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in Andrews, Texas.

dry cask storageThe license was issued Sept. 13. It authorizes the company to receive, possess, transfer and store up to 5,000 metric tons of spent fuel and 231.3 metric tons of Greater-Than-Class C low-level radioactive waste for 40 years.

The company has said it plans to expand the facility in seven additional phases, until it reaches a total capacity of 40,000 metric tons of fuel. Each expansion would require a license amendment with additional NRC safety and environmental reviews.

Interim Storage Partners is a joint venture of Waste Control Specialists LLC and Orano USA. It intends to construct the storage facility on property adjacent to the WCS low-level radioactive waste disposal site already operating under a Texas license.

Media reports say Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has vowed to prevent this facility from being built. Similarly, a spent fuel storage facility planned by Holtec International that would be build in New Mexico is facing local opposition.

The NRC said the spent fuel and waste must be stored in canisters and cask systems. The canisters and cask systems must meet NRC standards for protection against leakage, radiation dose rates, and criticality, under normal and accident conditions.

The canisters are required to be sealed when they arrive at the facility and remain sealed during onsite handling and storage activities.

This is the second license issued by the NRC for a consolidated storage facility for spent nuclear fuel. The first, Private Fuel Storage, was issued in 2006, but the facility, planned for a site in Utah, was never constructed.

A decision on the Holtec International application is currently expected in January 2022.

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