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60% of spent nuclear fuel in Japan to be stored in metal casks

13 Comments

Over 60 percent of some 15,200 tons of spent nuclear fuel in Japan could be stored in metal casks in the future as the cooling pools that currently keep them are filling up, a Kyodo News survey showed Wednesday.

The survey into the plans of utilities revealed the potential volume, at a time when each company is looking at dry casks to boost storage capacity of the ever-increasing highly radioactive by-product of nuclear power generation.

They believe the leak-tight canisters will be safer than storing the spent fuel in pools.

But keeping them in dry cask storage facilities, which do not need water or electricity to keep spent nuclear fuel cooled, will only be a temporary solution.

Analysts say it remains uncertain whether the waste will be taken out for reprocessing and recycling as planned amid technical difficulties and lingering safety concerns following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Residents near the storage sites of spent nuclear fuel are worried that the use of dry casks would lead to prolonged storage of the radioactive material.

Currently, the fuel storage capacity of 10 utilities owning commercial nuclear reactors totals 25,500 tons, with 60 percent already filled up. If unspent fuel is included, 69 percent will be occupied.

The 10 utilities' plans for future storage of spent fuel using dry casks showed that their combined capacity could increase by up to 10,000 tons in the future.

Among them, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., whose Fukushima Daini complex holds 1,650 tons of spent nuclear fuel, has decided to build a new storage facility within its premises, while Kansai Electric Power Co. which owns 11 reactors in Fukui Prefecture plans to find a site to store some 2,000 tons by around 2030.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has also encouraged utilities to shift storage of nuclear waste from cooling pools to dry casks in consideration of safety.

In the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster triggered by a powerful earthquake and tsunami, reactors temporarily lost the cooling functions in their spent fuel pools, putting a massive amount of fuel at risk of overheating and exposure.

Meanwhile, a dry cask storage facility, located within the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi plant remained safe, including the containers and the nuclear fuel inside, even though it was flooded by the tsunami.

© KYODO

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
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This is a very serious issue. All countries need to move away from nuclear power generation.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

This would solve the problem now, but would dump the problem on the next generation. Passing the buck.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

How do they cool the metal? Spent fuel still heats up.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Over 60 percent of some 15,200 tons of spent nuclear fuel in Japan could be stored in metal casks

It beats a plastic bag!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Among them, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., whose Fukushima Daini complex holds 1,650 tons of spent nuclear fuel, has decided to build a new storage facility within its premises, 

Let's hope this housing is strong enough to withstand a large tsunami and it has a waterproof electrical system. Dai-ni is only a couple of kilometers away from Dai-ichi and looks exactly the same.

Please tell me again how nuclear power is safe and cheap.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Nuclear power is basically a great cash cow for the state as no one can accurately assess the costs except for the government and their affiliates...so expect more nuclear power rather than green alternatives

0 ( +2 / -2 )

So 60% May/might be stored in a semi-medium term manner. Leaving 40% being stored in a haphazard manner. While more spent rods are to be expected. Seems those in charge hadn't quite thought this through. No Suprise there.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is a very serious issue. All countries need to move away from nuclear power generation.

Some countries already proved that but for Japan they already invest lot with this kind of particular energy source. Also relation between govt and these companies make things complicated.

So I won't expect this will happen soon enough.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How do they cool the metal? Spent fuel still heats up.

3 to 4 years after being removed from the reactor the fuel makes so little heat that active cooling with water isn't needed. There are thousands of these casks with spent fuel all over the world and none has ever had a problem with heat build-up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What is the current total death toll from the Fukushima nuclear disaster?

One.... Yes ONE!

Nuclear power is safe. Building the plants in earthquake zones maybe not so.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Metal? Oh how very reassuring! Steel, copper, tin, lead, aluminum, nickel, zinc, titanium, brass, bronze, some alloy I never heard of? No, don't tell me. I have complete faith TEPCO chose the right "metal" just like they chose the right height of the retaining wall to ward off tsunami. (retch)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@MrKipling

The causes of any type of cancer can never be adequately proven.

Thus to state that x number of people have died as a result of Fukushima is meaningless.

What has been done observed and proven is the number of genetic mutations seen in wildlife, in and around Fukushima...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The total cooling capacity at the nuclear power plants is about 20,000 tons of spent fuel. The fuel was also suppose to go to the Rokkasho nuclear processing plant, their storage capacity is also filling up. There are about 8 tons of plutonium at Rokkasho.

TEPCO has always used dry casks at its nuclear plants. At the nuclear disaster site there is a storehouse on the door near the No5&6 reactors which stores the dry casks. They survived both the earthquake and tsunami.

The spent fuel spends several years in the reactor cooling pool. Then its moved to the common cooling pool. From there its placed in the dry casks and moved to the storage.

https://www7.tepco.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/hd03-02-04-001-001-07-handouts_130321_01-e.pdf

Storing the spent nuclear fuel in dry casks is a better idea than just leaving the fuel in open cooling pools. Many countries including America use dry cask storage.

The problem is the long term storage of nuclear fuel and the massive amount of waste from the nuclear disaster site and also decommissioning about 20 reactors across the country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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