Spent fuel power plant interim storage facility concept

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Date

2020-05-06

Authors

Tobias, Kevin James

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Abstract

Disposal of spent nuclear fuel is an issue that has required a permanent solution since the beginning of commercial nuclear power generation. The provisions outlined under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 selected deep geologic disposal as the lead case for disposal yet progress since then has been met with significant political and social opposition. As of 2020, a firm timeline for disposal is still very much an unknown. The primary concerns are attributable to both the risk of radioactive release from spent fuel to the environment during transportation and storage and the significant cost of repository construction and operation. Both concerns are complicated due to the heat produced in spent fuel from radioactive decay of fission products and minor actinides. In this thesis, an alternative was developed that uses an interim waste storage facility designed to productively capture spent fuel decay heat. This alternative can complement existing U.S. nuclear waste policy in the same way that dry cask storage has done by extending the timeline required for receipt at a permanent repository but with the added benefit of productive energy capture and the potential for increased fuel storage density at a permanent repository.

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