Spent nuclear fuel vision to be shared with S.C. officials

Company to share vision with S.C. panel

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Although South Carolina’s future role in disposing of spent nuclear fuel remains unclear, the Governor’s Nuclear Advisory Council is scheduled to hear a presentation on the topic today from French nuclear giant Areva, which has ties to Aiken County and Savannah River Site.

Today’s presentation is one of several signs that behind-the-scenes interest in the Palmetto State remains high as Congress and the U.S. Department of Energy try to forge new solutions for spent fuel now stored in pools and casks at the nation’s 104 commercial power reactors.

The nationwide inventory – more than 75,000 tons – was to be buried in a deep repository in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain until that project was halted by the Obama administration.

A Blue Ribbon Commission formed in the wake of that decision suggested that interim storage sites could safely and temporarily be used to store the materials until a permanent solution is found.

Although there are no formal proposals to create a nuclear waste facility in South Carolina, it is an issue that must be evaluated, said Rick McLeod, the executive director of the SRS Community Reuse Organization, an economic development consortium unrelated to Areva’s presentation in Columbia.

“Right now, it’s just a topic that’s out there,” he said. “Everyone’s discussing what it could or could not be, and not just here. A lot of other communities are looking at it, too.”

McLeod’s group launched a $200,000 study in June to explore Savannah River Site’s potential role in spent nuclear fuel solutions and the role of surrounding counties.

The Blue Ribbon Commission also recommended avoiding forcing nuclear waste on communities where it is not wanted and devising a more cooperative siting process that involves communities supportive of spent fuel projects.

Part of the group’s study focuses on such questions, he said.

“If something were to go forward on this end of the back fuel cycle, we’d like to know what the communities may want in – and maybe incentive isn’t the right word – but equity. We’re trying to find out what it would take to be a host community.”

McLeod said his organization’s study, due for release in early 2013, is not part of any vision Areva might share with state officials.

“There’s no correlation right now,” he said. “They’re not tied to what our study does and we’re not tied to what Areva’s doing.”

The nationwide inventory of 75,000 tons of stockpiled spent fuel could expand to 150,000 tons by 2050, even if no more reactors are built, the DOE said.

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Riverman1 12/11/12 - 05:12 pm
I don't get what the Areva

I don't get what the Areva connection is....or isn't?

SCEagle Eye
SCEagle Eye 12/12/12 - 08:05 pm
AREVA wants our money

AREVA wants to exploit the Nuclear Waste Fund - to set up a spent fuel dump - in order to line their French socialist pockets with US taxpayer money. You have to agree on one thing - AREVA runs a highly efficient operation when it comes to sniffing out how to exploit the US taxpayer with unneeded and dangerous projects like "interim" spent fuel storage and construction of the $7 billion plutonium fuel MOX plant at SRS.

Radwaste 12/13/12 - 06:28 am
Don't be foolish here.

This problem is not going away, and someone is going to have to process this stuff. As it is, SRS has tens of thousands of tons of waste still to process from legacy weapons production.

You only have two choices: process it or leave it. And the production rate depends on your and your neighbor's turning the light switch off. That's not happening.

Areva's presence is due to France's large investment in nuclear power production, nothing more. Their political system has nothing at all to do with Areva's abilities, and everything to do with irrationality in selecting an agency to process waste.

Please. Look at the Areva Web site. Go to local Citizen's Advisory Board meetings, and if you have a better solution, present it.

SCEagle Eye
SCEagle Eye 12/13/12 - 10:45 pm
CAB has nothing to do with spent fuel dump

The Citizens Advisory Board is a federal advisory committee charged under regulations and its charter to advise the DOE's Office of Environmental Management on SRS clean-up issue. The CAB has no role related to commercial spent fuel. This may not sop special interests from trying to manipulate the CAB to support a spent fuel dump at SRS but that issue is far beyond what the CAB can legally address. Any recommendation bowing to the special interests/AREVA on a dump and reprocessing could get the CAB into legal hot water. Oh, the best medium-term solution - safest and cheapest and least worker exposure - is to store spent fuel in dry casks at reactor sites. Moving it twice is simply crazy but maximizes costs, which some want to happen.

oldredneckman96 12/14/12 - 10:28 pm
Spent Fuel

Areva is in the nuclear business. One part of it recycles used fuel back into useable fuel. In France they do not worry about what to do with tons of used fuel stored out in the open like us. We were ready to recycle fuel here in Aiken until Jimmie Carter stopped that during his term. France has 80% of its electric power from nuclear energy, and does not have problems with the oil countries like us.

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