NRC invites public to meeting on spent fuel

San Luis Obispo is one of three locations nationwide where the issue of long-term storage of used nuclear fuel will be discussed in coming weeks.

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission will have a public meeting Oct. 6 to discuss spent-fuel storage and transportation. Other meetings are scheduled for the NRC headquarters in Rockville, Md., and Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.

“The meetings are intended to inform the public on the NRC’s plans to tackle technical and regulatory issues related to extended storage of spent fuel and on plans to develop a draft environmental impact statement for an update of the NRC’s waste confidence decision and rule,” the agency stated in a news release.

The meetings were prompted by recent developments in the fate of a proposed national underground storage repository at Yucca Mountain in the Nevada desert. The Obama administration has defunded the controversial project.

Earlier this year, a blue-ribbon task force of nuclear experts appointed by the White House recommended that highly radioactive nuclear waste be stored at the plants where it was generated or at a small number of regional storage facilities until a permanent solution could be found.

“There’s a very good likelihood that the country will continue to store its spent fuel at temporary sites for an extended period of time,” said Dave McIntyre, NRC spokesman. “At the meetings, we will present where we are so far and get public input.”

Like many nuclear plants in the nation, PG&E’s Diablo Canyon stores its spent fuel using a combination of pools and dry-cask storage canisters.

The Oct. 6 meeting is intended to be a broad discussion of spent-fuel storage rather than a discussion about storage issues related specifically to Diablo Canyon, McIntyre said.

Meeting next week

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s public meeting on spent-fuel storage and transportation will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Oct. 6, at the Embassy Suites, 333 Madonna Road.