Why is CY Switching From Wet to Dry Fuel Storage?
We must continue to store used fuel at CY because the Department of Energy (DOE) has failed to meet its legal obligation to remove
the fuel to a permanent repository. Although the DOE is in the process of developing a repository in the Nevada desert, they now say it may take two or more decades before they will complete fuel removal at CY.
Despite signing a contract to begin removing fuel in January 1998, the DOE has defaulted on their contractual obligation and has not offered any alternative other than continued storage at the CY site.
has thrust the responsibility of continued storage onto Connecticut Yankee, the cost of continued storage onto electric consumers, and the uncertainty of continued storage and reuse of the CY site onto the region.
The only option we do have is the method of storage.
CY is required by the NRC to safely store the fuel until the DOE accepts it and to safely decommission the plant. For CY, transferring the fuel from wet
to dry storage will allow us to complete decommissioning and restoration of the original plant site. The Spent Fuel Pool building could not be decommissioned if it was being used to store fuel. In addition, removing
the fuel to a location that is not right in the middle of the plant industrial area will facilitate dismantling the buildings and enable CY to verify the site is available for reuse.
Although dry storage is
as safe as pool storage, it is less complex and less expensive to operate because there are no moving parts to monitor and maintain. For electric consumers in Connecticut and New England, this is significant because
they, not the DOE, are currently paying for continued fuel storage at CY as a result of DOE delays. In order to minimize the impact on electric consumers, the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC),
the Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC) and CY, agreed in a settlement on decommissioning costs, that the fuel be stored in a dry storage system. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently approved that
settlement. Because electric consumers fund decommissioning and fuel storage, CY is obligated to spend those funds prudently, and under the supervision of federal regulators.
Now that the CY plant is
permanently shut down and no longer produces power, its value has significantly decreased affecting tax revenues to the town of Haddam. Completing decommissioning and restoring the site in a timely manner would make
the CY site available for alternative use sooner and increase the potential for new tax revenue for the town. Keeping the fuel in the pool in the middle of the CY plant industrial area would prevent CY from
completing the decommissioning and complicate reuse of the site, including a gas-fired electric generating plant currently under consideration. Transferring the fuel to a dry storage facility outside the plant
industrial area will provide greater assurance of potential reuse.
In addition to being able to complete decommissioning, to agreeing with state and federal regulators to use dry storage, and to enhancing the
potential for reuse, a dry storage system also has inherent advantages. For example, dry storage is passive and requires less maintenance because there are no moving or mechanical parts, the dual purpose dry storage
system CY has chosen packages and prepares the fuel for transport, and the system reduces the number of fuel shipments from CY from several hundred to 43 when the DOE begins removing fuel.
commercial nuclear plants, both operating and shutdown, currently use, or are preparing to use dry storage for their used fuel. In light of a recent settlement between the DOE and PECO Energy Company regarding
funding for future fuel storage at one of the company's operating nuclear plants, many more plants will probably be turning to dry storage as the preferred option. In the settlement, the DOE stipulated that the used
fuel must be stored in a dry storage facility.