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Decommissioning Reactors

  1. Nov 18, 2016 #1
    I was reading about Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants here http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/decommissioning.html#improv and read that many plants we're decommissioned "without a viable option for disposing of their spent nuclear fuel". Just throwing an idea out there but

    If financially healthy nuclear facilities pay for the decommissioning of a bankrupt plant perhaps the public will accept some more nuclear waste being temporarily stored on the bankrupt/decommissioned site? It could be a fair trade in the mind of the public a small problem (more waste) to solve a larger problem (the reactor).

    So that a bankrupt reactor can improve the financial health of the rest of the industry.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 19, 2016 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    You are saying to tax the healthy companies to finance shutting down the failed ones?
    In return they get to store their spent fuel rods in the decommissioned site ... sites "without a viable option for disposing of their spent nuclear fuel"?
    Sure, that would get votes.

    Be sure that storing spent fuel rods in the containment dome of decommed nuclear plants has been thought of.
  4. Nov 19, 2016 #3
    I wasn't thinking of a tax, an auction will probably be best. Healthy reactor sites would pay to have their waste stored on the decommissioned site. Effectively giving the healthy ones more space to run (if they want it).
  5. Nov 20, 2016 #4
    In the US, each plant has to pre-pay the decommissioning costs for itself. Every plant has a decommissioning fund. Additionally up until a year or two ago every plant paid into the DOE spent fuel fund for spent fuel management. The doe fund was ordered to stop collecting money as they had failed at multiple statuatory requirements such as doing an adequate fee assessment or opening yucca.

    Anyways, before the plant is shut down, they can take money from the doe spent fuel fund to establish a spent fuel storage installation on site (dry cask storage).

    After the plant is shut down, the decommissioning fund handles all spent fuel expenditures until the DoE retakes possession of their fuel (all spent fuel belongs to the doe)

    There's no need for running plants to pay for non running plants during the period between shutdown and fuel transfer back to the DoE as they have funds set aside to do that.

    As the US currently is in political controversy with how to handle the spent fuel, currently there is a push for one centralized storage location to minimize costs associated with spent fuel storage.
  6. Oct 15, 2017 #5
    Adding on to hiddencamper. OP is talking about a space issue. Spent fuel really doesnt take up that much space. If you combined all of the spent fuel casks in the country, which makes up the entire history of waste collected, it would only cover a space the size of a football field, which is tiny.

    And then factor in that 95% of that spent fuel is still useable U-238. Assuming reprocessing facilities are built before disposal to pull out all the useable nuclides then that total waste drops down to a very tiny amount.
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