U.S. Department of Energy sets strategy for dealing with spent fuel

The U.S. Department of Energy released the Strategy for the Management and Disposal of Used Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste (local copy of pdf).

The document largely follows the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission that was established in January 2010 to "conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle." The commission issued its final report in January 2012.

The key elements of the new strategy outlined in the document as follows:

"With the appropriate authorizations from Congress, the Administration currently plans to implement a program over the next 10 years that:

  • Sites, designs and licenses, constructs and begins operations of a pilot interim storage facility by 2021 with an initial focus on accepting used nuclear fuel from shut-down reactor sites;
  • Advances toward the siting and licensing of a larger interim storage facility to be available by 2025 that will have sufficient capacity to provide flexibility in the waste management system and allows for acceptance of enough used nuclear fuel to reduce expected government liabilities; and
  • Makes demonstrable progress on the siting and characterization of repository sites to facilitate the availability of a geologic repository by 2048."