EM’s mission includes safely and efficiently managing its spent nuclear fuel and preparing it for disposal in a geological repository, or otherwise safely removing it from the inventory.
EM works with stakeholders and tribal governments to ensure protection of 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.
In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, a decision was made in 1995 to consolidate DOE managed SNF at existing DOE sites that have the skills, facilities and technologies to best handle the fuel. Based upon the 1995 Record of Decision and the associated environmental impact statement, DOE will temporarily store its SNF at the Hanford Site in Washington, the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in Idaho, and the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina, 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.
EM is currently managing approximately 2,450 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. (Some of the INL-managed SNF is stored at the Fort St. Vrain Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation in Colorado.) The majority of this fuel (about 87% by volume) is dry-stored.
Breakdown of DOE-Managed SNF
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.
At Hanford, SNF has been consolidated in the Canister Storage Building/200 Area Interim Storage 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. The majority of 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.