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Disposal and Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel: Finding the Right Balance (March 1996)

This special report captures more than two years of study and analysis by the Board into the issues surrounding the need for interim storage of commercial spent nuclear fuel and the advisability and timing of the development of a federal centralized storage facility. The Board concludes in the report that the DOE’s efforts should remain focused on permanent geologic disposal and the site investigations at Yucca Mountain, Nevada; that planning for a federal centralized spent fuel storage facility and the required transportation infrastructure be begun now, but actual construction delayed until after a site-suitability decision is made about the Yucca Mountain site; that storage should be developed incrementally; that limited, emergency backup storage capacity be authorized at an existing nuclear facility; and that, if the Yucca Mountain site proves unacceptable for repository development, other potential sites for both centralized storage and disposal be considered.