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Dry storage casks at Idaho National Laboratory can safely house spent nuclear fuel for decades.

EM’s mission includes safely and efficiently managing its spent nuclear fuel and preparing it for disposal in a geological repository.

EM works with stakeholders and tribal governments and will help protect the environment and the health and safety of workers and the public by fully complying with applicable federal, state and local laws, orders and regulations.

Canister Storage Building at Hanford
Canister Storage Building at Hanford

In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, a decision was made in 1995 to consolidate DOE-owned SNF at existing DOE sites that have the skills, facilities and technologies to best handle the fuel. Based on the decisions from the associated environmental impact statement, DOE will temporarily store its SNF at the Hanford Site in Wash., the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in Idaho, and the Savannah River Site (SRS) in S.C., until a repository is completed. The Hanford Site retained most of its inventory of SNF. The remaining DOE SNF was consolidated at the INL or SRS, depending on the type of fuel.

EM is currently managing approximately 2500 metric tons of heavy metal (MTHM) of SNF at the three sites, including approximately 2,129 MTHM at Hanford; about 27 MTHM at SRS and about 285 MTHM at INL. The majority of this fuel (about 87% by volume) is dry-stored.

SNF storage at Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center (INTEC) at Idaho National Laboratory is in five facilities that include wet, dry, below and above-ground storage configurations.

The Spent Nuclear Fuel Working Group, which includes representatives from DOE programs and sites that manage SNF, met in November 2019 at the Richland Operations Office to discuss SNF challenges.
The Spent Nuclear Fuel Working Group, which includes representatives from DOE programs and sites that manage SNF, met in November 2019 at the Richland Operations Office to discuss SNF challenges.
CPP-666 Basin at Idaho National Laboratory
CPP-666 Basin at Idaho National Laboratory

At Hanford, SNF has been consolidated in the Canister Storage Building/200 Area for safe interim storage.

SRS provides for the safe receipt and interim storage of SNF assemblies including SNF from domestic and foreign test and research reactors. SNF at SRS is stored in L Basin, a wet pool storage facility. The basins have concrete walls three feet thick and hold 3.5 million gallons of water with pool depths of 17-to-30 feet to provide shielding to protect workers from radiation. 

CPP-603 Irradiated Fuel Storage Facility (INL)
CPP-603 Irradiated Fuel Storage Facility (INL)
L-Basin at Savannah River
L-Basin at Savannah River