AREVA Lays Out Interim Storage and Recycling Plan to S.C. Panel
By Sarita Chourey
Morris News Service
December 14, 2012 — COLUMBIA -- A French nuclear company presented its concept for an interim storage and recycling facility for used nuclear fuel to the S.C. Governor's Nuclear Advisory Council Thursday.
But before the AREVA Federal Services representative spoke, Council chairman Karen Patterson told those in attendance, "I remind you, it's only a concept and only one."
She added: "Speaking as a citizen, I believe we should begin to learn about the options long before we are faced with a decision."
Paul Murray, technology director for AREVA Federal Services, then described a recycling process that would reduce the amount of leftover material to be placed in long-term storage.
Murray projected a diagram onto the committee room wall of a cropping machine with a 1-ton blade, which shears a fuel assembly into small pieces. He said the fuel assembly would then fall down into a rotating dissolver, followed by other steps before fuel is produced. Waste would be turned into a high-level waste glass, suitable for disposal in a geological repository.
Murray said a proposed system would match recycling capacity to demand and wouldn't involve stockpiling plutonium.
Federal leaders are searching for ways to handle the nation's spent fuel, which is housed at 104 commercial power reactors across the nation.
The Obama Administration canceled plans to place more than 75,000 tons of materials in a deep repository in Nevada's Yucca Mountain. A Blue Ribbon Commission created afterward said interim storage sites could be used temporarily.
In October AREVA announced it was leading a team of companies chosen by Eddy Lea Energy Alliance, LLC, to start developing the concept of a used nuclear fuel
"Consolidated Storage Facility" in southeastern New Mexico.
Meanwhile, Shaw AREVA MOX Services is the contractor that will build and run the nearly $5 billion mixed oxide fuel facility at Savannah River Site.
And in June an AREVA representative stood alongside those from Holtec and SCE&G at a press conference held by Gov. Nikki Haley and other elected officials. The purpose was to highlight a competitive grant program from the U.S. Department of Energy aimed at fostering small modular reactors
During the event, the Republican governor declined to answer questions from Tom Clements of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, about whether South Carolina would be stuck with additional nuclear waste, if the Savannah River Site were chosen.
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