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`Download Kindle ñ U.S. Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Ç Regardless of the outcome of the ongoing debate about the proposed Yucca Mountain geologic waste repository in Nevada, the storage of spent nuclear fuel SNF also referred to as highlevel nuclear waste will continue to be needed and the issue will continue to be debated The need for SNF storage, even after the first repository is opened, will continue for a few reasons The Obama Administration terminated work on the only planned permanent geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, which was intended to provide a destination for most of the stored SNF Also, the Yucca Mountain project was not funded by Congress in FY and FY, and not included in the Administration s budget request for FY Even if the planned repository had been completed, the quantity of SNF and other high level waste in storage awaiting final disposal now exceeds the legal limit for the first repository under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act NWPA The expected rate of shipment of SNF to the repository would require decades to remove existing SNF from interim storage Accordingly, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission NRC and reactor operators are considering extended SNF storage lasting for thanyears The debate about SNF typically involves where and how it is stored, as well as what strategies and institutions should govern SNF storage The earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and resulting damage to the Fukushima Dai ichi nuclear power plant, caused some in Congress and NRC to consider the adequacy of protective measures at US reactors The NRC Near Term Task Force on the disaster concluded it has not identified any issues that undermine our confidence in the continued safety and emergency planning of US plants Nonetheless, NRC has accepted a number of staff recommendations on near term safety enhancement, including requirements affecting spent fuel storage and prevention and coping with station blackout NRC is not requiring accelerated transfer of SNF from wet pools to dry casks, but the SNF storage data from the last several years indicate that accelerated transfer has already been occurring This report focuses on the current situation with spent nuclear fuel storage in the United States It does not address all of the issues associated with permanent disposal of SNF, but rather focuses on the SNF storage situation, primarily at current and former reactor facilities for the potentially foreseeable future