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Department of Energy Moves Forward with Consolidated Interim Storage Facility Project for Spent Nuclear Fuel

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has concluded that a federal consolidated interim storage facility is necessary for managing the nation’s commercial spent nuclear fuel.

According to the Office of Nuclear Energy, the Department recently approved Critical Decision-0 (CD-0) for the Federal Consolidated Interim Storage Facility project. CD-0 is the first step of a process that DOE uses to manage capital asset projects and determines a mission need for the agency.

The project would cover the removal of commercial spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plant sites where it’s currently stored, transporting it, and temporarily storing the fuel at a centralized location.

The facility would be licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and initially built to store around 15,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel, with options to expand—taking a big step forward in fulfilling the Department’s responsibility to take ownership of the fuel.

“This milestone is more than just a procedural step; it is the first step in our strategic vision to meet our contractual commitments and advance the nation’s nuclear energy infrastructure,” said Paul Murray, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Spent Fuel and High-Level Waste Disposition.

The project also includes the development of new modern railcars for transporting the spent nuclear fuel to the consolidated interim storage facility. 

DOE wrapped up final testing on the 12-axle Atlas railcar last year, which is expected to be cleared for operations this summer by the Association of American Railroads.

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