Advisory group recommends building dry storage facility in South Korea

The Public Engagement Commission (PECOS), an independent advisory body that was established in October 2013 to advise the government of South Korea on nuclear issues, issued a draft report (PDF file, in Korean) that outlined its recommendations regarding spent nuclear fuel management in South Korea. The commission recommendations are as follows, as translated by Jungmin Kang (IPFM) and Seok-Woo Kim:

  1. The top priority of spent fuel management is public safety. Spent fuel should be managed safely and effectively under government responsibility. Selected spent fuel management technologies should be proven by the experts. The results of technological application should not be an excessive burden for future generations.

  2. It should be made a rule to move spent fuel to reliable storage facilities before temporary storage capacity is exceeded or the operating permit of temporary storage facilities expires.

  3. Government should build a final geologic disposal site to be operational in 2051. To do this, it is desirable for government to select site for an Underground Research Laboratory (URL) at the disposal site or at a site with similar geologic characteristics by 2020, to construct the URL till 2030, and to do empirical study after 2030.

  4. With resident participation, an environmental radiation supervisory center (tentative) would be established at the final geologic disposal site and a site for URL. Paying for local communities is recommended to improve the quality of life and to improve a stable economic base for the communities that host the final geologic disposal site and the site for URL. First, it would create new jobs and vitalize local economy by locating related organizations of spent fuel research and management. Second, it would pay municipalities for the disposal of spent fuel. Third, it would help conserve the local communities' natural environment and establish urban development plans for the local communities with a special subsidy.

  5. A pre-disposal stage storage facility is to be built at URL site, which would be selected in 2020, to store NSF until operation of disposal site. If unavoidable, spent fuel would be stored at onsite temporary storage facilities till operation of disposal site begins. In addition, close cooperation between the countries would be required to prepare an international spent fuel management facility.

  6. If temporary storage facilities are built within NPP site to store spent fuel, "NSF storage fee" is to be paid to localities. A Resident Foundation (tentative) shall be established and run at each NPP region in order to ensure transparent and efficient collection and management of "NSF storage fees." It is also necessary for government and NPP hosting regions to negotiate in detail on the payment of reasonable fee for spent fuel currently stored at each NPP site.

  7. It is necessary to prioritize the technologies for storage, transportation, disposal, and for the reduction of volume and toxicity of spent fuel, as well as to set up and execute a detailed plan for the development of such technologies. We should establish, above all, standard for control. We should also set up an institutional mechanism and operate an integrated system for experts from various disciplines to initiate technology development with social responsibility.

  8. It is highly desirable to secure safety, responsibility, stability, efficiency, and transparency in spent fuel management. For this, we advise to establish NSF Technology and Management Corporation (tentative) in which government, utilities, and the public co-own the stake and share the responsibility for technology development and phased management.

  9. It is necessary to enact Special Law on NSF (tentative) or amend existing laws and regulations as soon as possible in order to provide transparency, stability and sustainability in spent fuel management as well as to uphold credibility of the spent fuel policy.

  10. In order to set up and execute spent fuel management policy immediately, an inter-ministry decision-making body (NSF Planning Committee) and its working-level executive arm (NSF Policy Implementation Committee) are to be set up and operated within the government.

The commission expressed its preference for the construction of an interim dry storage facility, described in item 5.