If the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) conclusion that it’s safe to move spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants across the country to a proposed storage facility in Lea County sounds vanilla-coated, it’s because the draft environmental impact statement for a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility submitted by Holtec International did not address how the casks containing the spent fuel would be transported to New Mexico. It’s likely the casks would be transported primarily by rail using aging infrastructure in need of constant repair. But our rail systems were not built to support the great weight of these transport casks containing thin-wall fuel storage canisters. Nor was the potential for cracked or corroded canisters to leak radiation studied because an earlier NRC Generic EIS for the Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel assumed damaged fuel storage canisters would be detected during an intermediary dry transfer system or a pool.
Beyond Nuclear 12th July 2020 read more »