March 31st, 2011 – Working on high priority spent fuel pool safety questions

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From: Nelson, Robert
Sent: Friday, April 01,12011 8:30 AM
To: Roberts, Darrell
Cc: Tifft, Doug; Burritt, Arthur; Jackson, Donald; Floyd, Niklas; Schmidt, Wayne; Powell, Raymond; Clifford, James; Screnci, Diane; Sheehan, Neil
Subject: RE: spent fuel pool safety questions

Working these on high priority.

From: Roberts, Darrell
Sent: Thursday, March 3A. 2011 6:38 PM
To: Nelson, Robert
Cc: Tifft, Doug; Burritt, Arthur; Jackson, Donald; Floyd, Niklas; Schmidt, Wayne; Powell, Raymond; Clifford, James; Screnci, Diane; Sheehan, Neil
Subject: spent fuel pool safety questions


After my staff reviewed the existing Sharepoint Q&A files for information on the subject area, we thought we’d need to have some specific Q&As related to the subject of spent fuel pools. My staff and I have proposed some answers (some may be too specific and not geared toward the agency’s overall messages), but I wanted to get these up to your team for your consumption/processing. We anticipate that some of these questions will be asked at our upcoming public meetings and at a briefing I’m providing to the NH State Legislature on Monday.


QI: How much fuel is in the spent fuel pools at Plant XXX?
Al. (Although NRC has access to this specific information, I do NOT propose that we provide this in a public forum as it represents security sensitive information.) Plant XXX currently has xxx fuel assemblies (or ,. mnetric tens of fuel) located in the spent fuel pool. They arc i~enced to carry xxxx in the pool. The amount of fuel in the pool varies at given times depending upon the operating status of the reactor (i.e., core offload during refueling, cask loading campaigns, etc.).

Q2: What is the corresponding radiological risk to that amount of fuel should there be a fuel pool event, and is that factored into licensee’s emergency planning?
A2. The radiological consequences would depend on the severity of the event. However, NRC does not believe – for the reasons stated earlier regarding our confidence in the plants’ ability to prevent or mitigate the results of a spent fuel cooling loss event – that there is a high risk of a significant event at US nuclear power plants and their spent fuel pools. In the unlikely event of an accident resulting in the loss of fuel pool cooling or
damage to irradiated fuel rods, licensees have incorporated such events into their emergency planning and procedures.

Q3: How long are ISFSI’s good for (or “designed for”)? What kind of analysis does NRC do to support extending their licenses?
A3. NRC licenses them for 20 years with the potential for a license extension according to 10CFR72. (Need to check fact sheet or regulations to determine more specific answers)

Q4: If the SFPs are not in hardened structures (i.e., concrete containments) as has shown to be the case at Fukushima, why is this acceptable given the risks?

Q5: Are the spent fuel pools cooled by safety-related cooling systems at Plant XXX?
A5. Yes (particularly for Seabrook and VY). There are primary cooling systems, which are powered by normal and emergency backup power sources, and then there are backups to the backups (e.g., B.5.b mitigation strategies – which we would not go into any detail for considering security sensitive nature of the information post-9/1 1).

Q6: What amount of fuel was originally intended for spent fuel pool storage when the plants were initially licensed (and for how long)?
A6. (I propose that this answer should be provided in the context of expected long-term permanent high-level waste storage facility when plants were originally licensed.)

Q7: Is the NRC going to make changes to spent fuel storage/safety requirements in light of the Japanese events (including possibly requiring transfer to dry-cask storage after a certain period of time)? Or, better yet, why hasn’t NRC already required that such changes be made?
A7. (message-related answer should be consistent with what Chairman and EDO have provided in recent testimonies to Congress, etc. as to why we believe SFPs or provide adequate level of safety)

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