Mounting storage concerns: Who’s responsible?
[link to analysis.nuclearenergyinsider.com
After 50 years of generating nuclear power and with approximately 67,000 tons of fuel being temporarily stored at about 75 operating and shutdown nuclear facilities,
the United States is still at crossroads regarding what will be the nation’s policy for the disposition of its spent nuclear fuel.
Safety concerns also surround abandoned radioactive materials, known as orphan sources. These sealed sources of radioactive material are usually found in a condition that requires their removal to protect public safety from a radiological threat,
or at a place for which a responsible party cannot be readily indentified.
The National Nuclear Security Administration’s Off-Site Source Recovery Project was created for this purpose – to remove excess, unwanted, or abandoned radioactive sealed sources – and has so far recovered more than 29,100 sources from around 1,000 sites across the U.S.
“Since this (UNF storage) has already been paid for via the utility NWF payments to the US Treasury of around $26bn, the NWF should be the source of funding. This is what it was created for and there is no excuse for not using it for its intended purpose. This again was recommended by the BRC”, says Barrett.
More than 60 lawsuits have been filed against the DOE by energy firms as a result of the federal government’s failure to begin disposing of UNF in 1998 as mandated by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, and while billions of dollars in damages have been awarded, dozens of lawsuits remain pending.