Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Where will Connecticut’s nuclear waste go?  Nuclear submarines’ waste is a particular problem (Australia take note)

  Connecticut has been living more than half a century with what was supposed to have been temporary spent fuel storage.

On any day since the mid 1950s, there might be multiple reactors in or around the Thames River, welded into the nuclear powered submarines stationed at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton

The Navy won’t discuss how it disposes of its spent nuclear waste.

It’s in question as the state pushes toward a green future, By Edmund H. Mahony, Hartford Courant, May 01, 2022, The federal government is jump-starting its long-stalled search for a place to store the tons of spent nuclear fuel piling up in Connecticut and other states.

 …… The U.S. Department of Energy is reviewing responses to a request for information it issued to nuclear industry stakeholders late last year as a first step in another attempt to resolve one of the thorniest challenges of the nuclear age: how and where to store the highly-radioactive, spent uranium that is the waste product of nuclear energy production.

The state legislature this session approved a bill requiring all electric power consumed in Connecticut to be produced from carbon free sources by 2040. Another bill, written with smaller, better reactors in mind, is pending. It would lift a state moratorium on new nuclear power production — a moratorium enacted decades ago over the same concerns about the state’s spent fuel stockpiles — but limit new production to the Millstone nuclear complex in Waterford, where Dominion Energy has what was intended to be a temporary nuclear waste storage facility.

The country’s inability to figure out what to do with waste stockpiles has become an impediment for nuclear-generating states like Connecticut…… That has power industry and private capital looking toward the development of a new generation of smaller [really?] safer, more efficient [really?] nuclear reactors — reactors that will continue to produce waste that needs to be disposed of someplace safe.

……………………….. “Disposal is absolutely an issue,”  State Sen. Norm Needleman   said. “That is why this is limited to a site that is a going plant today where they already are dealing with that problem. I would not at this moment support any expansion until the Department of Energy finds someplace. If you are going to build nuclear power plants and you are going to be siting 200 piles of nuclear waste, it is better to have it buried 2,000 feet below ground someplace, rather than having it spread all over.”

………………………   Connecticut has been living more than half a century with what was supposed to have been temporary spent fuel storage.

On any day since the mid 1950s, there might be multiple reactors in or around the Thames River, welded into the nuclear powered submarines stationed at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton, or just down river at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics where the ships are built. For years the Navy operated an experimental reactor in Windsor.

Beginning in the late 1960s, four commercial reactors produced power in Connecticut — one at the Connecticut Yankee plant on Haddam Neck, a peninsula stretching into the lower Connecticut River, and three on Millstone Point at the east end of Long Island Sound.

Two of the three Millstone reactors remain operational. Connecticut Yankee has been closed and decommissioned.

The Navy won’t discuss how it disposes of its spent nuclear waste. Because the federal government has not been able to find a politically acceptable commercial disposal solution, every bit of radioactive uranium expended in the production of commercial power in Connecticut remains under guard in what are designed as impregnable — but temporary — storage containers at the Millstone and Connecticut Yankee sites……………………………………

as much as 90,000 metric tons of spent fuel continues to pile up and remain stranded at what were supposed to be temporary sites around the country.

On Haddam Neck, there are 43 enormous concrete and steel storage casks containing radioactive material on the site of the decommissioned Connecticut Yankee plant. At the Millstone site in Waterford, waste is divided between a storage pool and 47 storage modules. Plant operator Dominion Energy says it has the capacity to store a total of 135 modules.

The storage costs, which involve protecting the spent fuel from hazards running from terrorist attacks to natural disasters, is enormous. The cost at Connecticut Yankee is about $10 million a year — at a plant that shut down in 1996 because it was no longer cost effective after 28 years of operation.

The federal government and, ultimately, taxpayers are picking up the cost. The law that was to make Yucca Mountain a national repository carried a provision obligating the Department of Energy to remove and store spent fuel from commercial reactors beginning in 1998. Without a repository, the department cannot meet its obligation. Plant operators sued, and the government has been held responsible for incurred storage costs.

There are intangible costs to temporary storage, too…………………………….  

May 2, 2022 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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