In the United States, commercial nuclear power plants store spent nuclear (fuel) underwater in spent fuel pools and in dry-cask storage systems. Similarly, spent fuel is stored by DOE in wet storage pools and in dry cask storage systems. DOE stores liquid high-level radioactive waste in underground tanks. When the liquid high-level waste is processed into a solid form, it is packaged into steel canisters for storage and eventual transportation to a repository. Cesium and strontium capsules are currently stored in a wet-storage pool and calcined high-level waste is stored in a specially-designed dry-storage facility. The methods used for the processing, packaging, and storage of both spent fuel and high-level waste will have direct impacts on the eventual transportation and disposal of these materials.
Under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA), as amended, the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board is charged with evaluating the technical and scientific validity of activities undertaken by DOE under the NWPA related to managing and disposing of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste.
Examples of Board activities related to packaging and storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Waste:
- BOARD REPORT - Evaluation of the Department of Energy's Research Program to Examine the Performance of Commercial High Burnup Spent Nuclear Fuel During Extended Storage and Transportation, July 2021
- BOARD REPORT - Preparing for Nuclear Waste Transportation: Technical Issues that Need to Be Addressed in Preparing for a Nationwide Effort to Transport Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste, September 2019
- BOARD REPORT - Management and Disposal of U.S. Department of Energy Spent Nuclear Fuel, December 2017
- BOARD LETTER- To the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy and to the DOE Office of Environmental Management, following the Summer 2014 Board Meeting on DOE's Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Waste management activities, October 10, 2014
- PUBLIC MEETING- A Review of DOE's Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level waste management activities, Summer 2014 Board Meeting - August 6, 2014
- PUBLIC MEETING - Impacts of Dry-Storage Canister Designs on Future Handling, Storage, Transportation, and Geologic Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel, 2013 Board Technical Workshop - November 18 and 19, 2013