Energy Department awards contracts for storage of spent nuclear fuel
The two contracts have a total value of up to $13.8 million if all options are exercised by the Energy Department. Each contract is for a term of up to five years, according to the department.
The TAD canister will be the primary means for packaging spent nuclear fuel for transportation to and disposal in the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain, about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
“We believe that these advanced canisters will provide for the safe, long-term storage of our nation’s spent nuclear fuel,” said Edward Sproat, director of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management. “This is a significant step in the department’s efforts to license and construct the repository at Yucca Mountain.”
The Department of Energy estimates that up to 90 percent of the spent nuclear fuel received at Yucca Mountain will arrive in TAD canisters that will be permanently sealed at utility sites. Any spent nuclear fuel not transported in TADs will be placed in the canisters upon arrival at Yucca Mountain, according to the department.
The TAD canister, which could be commercially available as early as 2013, will meet all Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements for storage and transportation of spent nuclear fuel, as well as the department’s technical requirements for long-term waste isolation during disposal, according to the department.
TAD canister saves money, storage space
In June 2007, the Department of Energy released the final performance requirements for the TAD canister. The TAD-based approach, originally announced in October 2005, eliminates the need for the construction of several multimillion-square-feet, multibillion-dollar facilities for handling spent fuel at the Yucca Mountain repository, according to the Department of Energy.
The TAD canister concept was adopted by the department as the primary means of receiving spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain, as it will minimize the need for repetitive handling of spent nuclear fuel by using the same canister from the time it leaves a nuclear power plant, according to the department.
Yucca Mountain was approved by Congress and President Bush in 2002 as the site of the nation’s first permanent geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The Energy Department’s license application for authorization to construct the repository, which is scheduled to be submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission no later than June 30, will incorporate the TAD approach.