The Transportation of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste

A Systematic Basis for Planning and Management at the National, Regional, and Community Levels

Prepared By
Planning Information Corporation
Denver, Colorado
September, 1996

1.   Waste Origins, Storage Locations and Shipment Sites

In common practice, a reactor name may be used to refer to any of several facilities at a site, or to the site itself. Thus, the term "Calvert Cliffs" may be used to refer to either or both of Baltimore Gas and Electric's two nuclear powerplants, to the joined spent fuel pools at those reactors, to the site's concrete module dry storage facility, or the site itself on the Patuxent River near Lusby in Calvert County. In assessment, however, it is useful to maintain a distinction between the facilities which generate spent fuel, the facilities where this waste is temporarily stored, and the sites from which such waste may be shipped to a centralized or permanent storage facility. The same applies to high-level waste at DOE's defense sites and to other nuclear waste requiring geologic disposal.

Spent Fuel Origins and Storage Locations

In its Acceptance Priority Ranking reports,3 DOE identifies SNF by the reactor from which it was discharged and by its current storage location. For example:

Thus, there is a distinction between spent fuel origins and storage locations. Origins are nuclear reactors. Storage locations are spent fuel pools which are sometimes shared among two reactors, or joined by a transfer canal, or, increasingly, on-site dry storage facilities such as those at Surry or Calvert Cliffs, or off-site pools such as those are Morris, or the Idaho National Engineering Lab (INEL). Table 1-1 and Table 1-2 present the list of spent fuel origins and storage locations used in this assessment.

In aggregate, DOE's listing of spent fuel discharges describes where spent fuel from particular reactors is now stored, and where spent fuel at particular storage locations came from. For example:

Waste Origin and Storage Location Assumptions

Shipment Sites

Route analysis requires the identification of a point of origin for each shipment—the place from which the legal-weight truck, heavy-haul truck, rail or barge shipment begins. This assessment associates each storage location with a shipment origin (Table 1-3). For example, spent fuel stored at the separate pools at Arkansas Nuclear's reactors 1 and 2 or at the Arkansas Nuclear dry storage facility all have the same shipment origin. Similarly, spent fuel stored at the connected pools at Calvert Cliffs reactors 1 and 2 or at the Calvert Cliffs dry storage facility all have the same shipment origin.

As will be discussed in Sections 7 and 8, transportation choices are keyed both to the facilities at the storage location (e.g., the characteristics of the separate, shared or joined spent fuel pools, or of the dry storage facility) and to the characteristics of near-site infrastructure (e.g., the availability of onsite rail, the distance to an offsite railhead, and the characteristics of the community along the heavy-haul route).

Table 1-1. Originators of Spent Nuclear Fuel or High-Level Waste
Table 1-2. Storage Locations for Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Waste
Table 1-3. Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Shipment Sites

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