Dry Fuel Storage has been in use at various nuclear facilities in the United States since the mid 1980s. In fact, more than half the nuclear power plants in U.S. are either using Dry Fuel Storage now, or are in the process of implementing the storage capability. (View map)
Dry Fuel Storage is a safe, efficient way of adding used fuel storage capacity at Fermi 2 until a national storage facility is in operation.
A Dry Fuel Storage system seals used nuclear fuel inside massive steel and concrete cylinders. The cylinders create a simple, yet extremely safe and reliable system that provides both structural strength and radiation shielding.
The canisters are placed upright on a concrete pad. They are capable of withstanding natural disasters and terrorist attacks. Each container is about 20 feet in height and 11 feet in diameter. The outer wall of a canister is more than two feet thick. Each loaded container system weighs about 360,000 pounds. The inner canisters and outer casings have no operating equipment requiring regular maintenance.
Fermi 2 plans to be ready to load the first containers and transport them to the storage pad in Summer 2014.
The steel-reinforced concrete storage pad, on which the canisters will sit, is a highly-engineered, two-foot thick location measuring 141 feet by 141 feet. Pad design and construction take into consideration the issues of earthquakes, drainage, cask transport equipment, lighting and security. The NRC must inspect both the design and the physical preparation of the pad.
The general license granted to Fermi 2 by the NRC allows us to operate the Spent Fuel Storage installation. Fermi 2 can use this license after it has successfully demonstrated to the NRC that it has complied with all requirements and is proficient in the use of equipment and the steps needed to perform loading of canisters.
This project specifically addresses concerns about such issues as:
Due to the low dose rate associated the containers, public heath will be unaffected. Radiation detectors will be mounted in the immediate area and routinely monitored and analyzed. Typical dose rates right near the canisters are expected to be less than 5 millirem/hour at contact and < 1 millirem/hour at 2 meters – roughly the same as a dental x-ray. These values are well within the limits imposed by federal regulations. Learn more about radiation.
The Dry Fuel canisters will be located inside the plant's high-security Protected Area, where they will be continuously monitored. The storage containers are massive, with more than two feet of concrete surrounding a stainless steel canister. This system has been designed, tested and proven to prevent the release of radioactivity under even the most extreme conditions such as earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, flood and sabotage.