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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11263.
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SAFETY AND SECURITY OF COMMERCIAL SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL STORAGE

Public Report

Committee on the Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage

Board on Radioactive Waste Management

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11263.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by grant number NRC-04–04–067 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number 0-309-09647-2

Library of Congress Control Number 2005926244

Additional copies of this report are available from the
National Academies Press,
500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624–6242 or (202) 334–3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu

Front cover: Design by Michele de la Menardiere from photos courtesy of the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Copyright 2006 by the National Academy of Sciences, All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11263.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine


The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr, Ralph J.Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.


The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm.A.Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.


The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V.Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.


The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J.Cicerone and Dr. Wm, A.Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council


www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11263.
×

COMMITTEE ON THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF COMMERCIAL SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL STORAGE

LOUIS J.LANZEROTTI, Chair,

New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, and Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill

CARL A.ALEXANDER,

Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio

ROBERT M.BERNERO,

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (retired), Gaithersburg, Maryland

M.QUINN BREWSTER,

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

GREGORY R.CHOPPIN,

Florida State University, Tallahassee

NANCY J.COOKE,

Arizona State University, Mesa

LOUIS ANTHONY COX, Jr.,1

Cox Associates, Inc., Denver, Colorado

GORDON R.JOHNSON,

Network Computing Services, Minneapolis, Minnesota

ROBERT P.KENNEDY,

RPK Structural Mechanics Consulting, Escondido, California

KENNETH K.KUO,

Pennsylvania State University, University Park

RICHARD T.LAHEY, Jr.,

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York

KATHLEEN R.MEYER,

Keystone Scientific, Inc., Fort Collins, Colorado

FREDERICK J.MOODY,

GE Nuclear Energy (retired), Murphys, California

TIMOTHY R.NEAL,

Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico

JOHN WREATHALL,1

John Wreathall & Company, Inc., Dublin, Ohio

LORING A.WYLLIE, Jr.,

Degenkolb Engineers, San Francisco, California

PETER D.ZIMMERMAN,

King’s College London, United Kingdom

Staff

KEVIN D.CROWLEY, Study Director

BARBARA PASTINA, Senior Program Officer

MICAH D.LOWENTHAL, Senior Program Officer

ELISABETH A.REESE, Program Officer

DARLA THOMPSON, Research Associate

TONI G.GREENLEAF, Administrative Associate

1  

Drs. Cox and Wreathall resigned from the committee on February 26 and March 17, 2004, respectively.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11263.
×

BOARD ON RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT

RICHARD A.MESERVE,1Chair,

Camegie Institution, Washington, D.C,

ROBERT M.BERNERO,

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (retired), Gaithersburg, Maryland

SUE B.CLARK,

Washington State University, Pullman

ALLEN G.CROFF,

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (retired), Tennessee

DAVID E.DANIEL,

University of Illinois, Urbana

RODNEY C.EWING,

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

ROGER L.HAGENGRUBER,

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

KLAUS KÜHN,

Technische Universitat Clausthal, Germany

HOWARD C.KUNREUTHER,

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

SUSAN M.LANGHORST,

Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

NIKOLAI P.LAVEROV,

Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow

MILTON LEVENSON,

Bechtel International (retired), Menlo Park, California

PAUL A.LOCKE,

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

NORINE E.NOONAN,

College of Charleston, South Carolina

EUGENE A.ROSA,

Washington State University, Pullman

ATSUYUKI SUZUKI,

Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, Tokyo

Staff

KEVIN D.CROWLEY, Director

MICAH D.LOWENTHAL, Senior Program Officer

BARBARA PASTENA, Senior Program Officer

JOHN R.WILEY, Senior Program Officer

TONI GREENLEAF, Administrative Associate

DARLA J.THOMPSON, Research Associate

LAURA D.LLANOS, Senior Program Assistant

MARILI ULLOA, Senior Program Assistant

JAMES YATES, JR., Office Assistant

1  

Dr. Meserve did not participate in the oversight of this study.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11263.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11263.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This study would not have been possible without the help of several organizations and individuals who were called upon for information and advice. The committee would like to acknowledge especially the following organizations and individuals for their help:

  • Congressional staff members Kevin Cook, Terry Tyborowski, and Jeanne Wilson (retired) for their guidance on the study task.

  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff Farouk Eltawila, who served as the primary liaison for this study, and Charles Tinkler and Francis (Skip) Young for their support of the committee’s information-gathering activities.

  • Department of Homeland Security staff member Jon MacLaren, who also served as a liaison to the committee.

  • Steve Kraft and John Vincent (deceased) of the Nuclear Energy Institute and staff of Energy Resources International for providing information about spent fuel storage practices in industry.

  • ENTERGY Corp., Exelon Corp, and Arizona Public Service Corp. staff for organizing tours of the Braidwood, Dresden, Indian Point, and Palo Verde nuclear generating stations.

  • German organizations and individuals who helped organize a tour of spent fuel storage facilities in Germany. These organizations and individuals are explicitly acknowledged in Appendix C.

  • Speakers (see Appendix A) and participants at committee meetings as well as those who sent written comments for providing their knowledge and perspectives on this important matter,

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as passible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

John F.Aheame, Sigma Xi and Duke University

Romesh C.Batra, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Robert J.Budnitz, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Philip R.Clark, GPU Nuclear Corporation (retired)

Richard L.Garwin, IBM Thomas J.Watson Research Center

Roger L.Hagengruber, The University of New Mexico

Darleane C.Hoffman, E.O.Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Melvin F.Kanninen, MFK Consulting Services

Milton Levenson, Bechtel International (retired)

Allison Macfarlane, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Richard A.Meserve, Camegie Institution of Washington

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11263.
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Donald R.Olander, University of California, Berkeley

Theofanis G.Theofanous, University of California, Santa Barbara

George W.Ullrich, SAIC

Frank N.von Hippel, Princeton University

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report’s conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Chris G.Whipple, ENVIRON International Corporation, and R.Stephen Berry, University of Chicago. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11263.
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CONTENTS

 

 

Note to Readers,

 

1

 

 

Summary for Congress,

 

3

 

 

Executive Summary,

 

5

1.

 

Introduction and Background,

 

12

   

1.1 Context for this study,

 

12

   

1.2 Strategy to address the study charges,

 

13

   

1.3 Report roadmap,

 

16

   

1.4 Background on spent nuclear fuel and its storage,

 

16

2.

 

Terrorist Attacks on Spent Fuel Storage,

 

25

   

2.1 Background on risk,

 

25

   

2.2 Terrorist attack scenarios,

 

28

   

2.3 Risks of terrorist attacks on spent fuel storage facilities,

 

34

   

2.4 Findings and recommendations,

 

36

3.

 

Spent Fuel Pool Storage,

 

38

   

3.1 Background on spent fuel pool storage,

 

40

   

3.2 Previous studies on safety and security of pool storage,

 

44

   

3.3 Evaluation of the potential risks of pool storage,

 

47

   

3.4 Findings and recommendations,

 

57

4.

 

Dry Cask Storage and Comparative Risks,

 

60

   

4.1 Background on dry cask storage,

 

61

   

4.2 Evaluation of potential risks of dry cask storage,

 

64

   

4.3 Potential advantages of dry storage over wet storage,

 

68

   

4.4 Findings and recommendations,

 

69

5.

 

Implementation Issues,

 

75

   

5.1 Timing issues,

 

75

   

5.2 Communication issues,

 

75

   

5.3 Finding and recommendation,

 

77

 

 

References,

 

79

 

 

Appendixes

 

 

A.

 

Information-gathering sessions,

 

83

B.

 

Biographical sketches of committee members,

 

87

C.

 

Tour of selected spent fuel storage-related installations in Germany,

 

92

D.

 

Historical development of current commercial power reactor fuel operations,

 

100

E.

 

Glossary,

 

108

F.

 

Acronyms,

 

115

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11263.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2006. Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11263.
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Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report Get This Book
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In response to a request from Congress, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Homeland Security sponsored a National Academies study to assess the safety and security risks of spent nuclear fuel stored in cooling pools and dry casks at commercial nuclear power plants. The information provided in this book examines the risks of terrorist attacks using these materials for a radiological dispersal device. Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel is an unclassified public summary of a more detailed classified book. The book finds that successful terrorist attacks on spent fuel pools, though difficult, are possible. A propagating fire in a pool could release large amounts of radioactive material, but rearranging spent fuel in the pool during storage and providing emergency water spray systems would reduce the likelihood of a propagating fire even under severe damage conditions. The book suggests that additional studies are needed to better understand these risks. Although dry casks have advantages over cooling pools, pools are necessary at all operating nuclear power plants to store at least the recently discharged fuel. The book explains it would be difficult for terrorists to steal enough spent fuel to construct a significant radiological dispersal device.

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