Last week, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission finalized rulemaking for the continued storage of used nuclear fuel, affirming that continued safe storage of used fuel in pools and stainless steel dry shielded canisters is technically feasible and without significant environmental effects for timeframes beyond the licensed reactor lifetimes. A leading example of safe used fuel management is AREVA’s horizontal NUHOMS used fuel storage system — already in place at more than 50% of U.S. nuclear energy facilities. The NRC rulemaking was in response to a Federal Appeals Court decision remanding significant elements of the previous “Waste Confidence” rule.
While the rulemaking did little to resolve critical policy impasses surrounding management of used nuclear fuel in the United States, it did remove critical licensing obstacles for AREVA customers.
In parallel to the Commission’s approval of this final rule, the NRC lifted its two-year moratorium on final licensing actions — enabling final decisions on new reactor licenses, operating license extensions, and licenses for independent spent fuel storage installations currently before the NRC.
We applaud this re-engagement of a critical process that will ultimately increase the generation of powerful, reliable, clean air nuclear energy.
AREVA’s “Sea of Red” advocacy at the NRC’s public meeting in Charlotte last November highlighted the contributions of hundreds of AREVA employees, who made their voices heard through written comments and at public meetings across the United States.
Yes, “Nuclear Matters” — and AREVA plays an active role in supporting its customers in their continued safe operations and licensing actions.