Process to store spent fuel requires months of preparation, safeguards
Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant recently successfully completed its third dry cask storage campaign.
What is a dry cask? The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations specify two acceptable storage methods for used
nuclear fuel (also known as “spent fuel”) after it is removed from the reactor core: spent fuel pools and dry cask storage. In this storage practice, once the used fuel has cooled for at least five years in the spent fuel pool, it is then transferred and stored in large steel canisters, which are then placed inside a steel and concrete cask measuring about 11 feet in diameter, about 19 feet tall and about 300,000 pounds. They’re called “dry” casks because the fuel is no longer stored in water.
Did you know? Periodically, about one-half of the nuclear fuel in an operating reactor needs to be unloaded and replaced with fresh fuel. This used fuel (also known as spent fuel) has been irradiated to the point where it is no longer useful in sustaining a nuclear reaction.
Safe. Secure. Proven. This type of storage concept is well-proven from technology, performance and regulatory perspectives. Dry cask storage is currently being used at almost all nuclear plant sites across the country. Comprehensive security and safety measures for the casks are similar to those used for the plant itself.
See what goes into storing used fuel onsite at Comanche Peak: