by Will Davis from the 2017 ANS Winter Meeting, Washington, D.C.
A packed room was on hand for this morning’s panel session on Used Nuclear Fuel Management, and following the interesting presentations by several speakers the crowd took part in an energetic and, at some times, lively discussion on where we are as a nation and as an industry on the issues of storage of used fuel and the potential for creation of storage or even, possibly, a repository.  Given the present political environment, there’s motion on the latter, which led to some of the liveliness of the discussion.  We’ll give just some of the remarks made by presenters below.
Ray Furstenau, of the US Department of Energy observed that it’s clear to everyone at the DOE that there’s a present and palpable need to resolve the uncertainties caused by the management of waste (UNF or Used Nuclear Fuel) and that “the Department of Energy is committed to resolve these uncertainties.”  As Furstenau pointed out there needs to be motion on a number of fronts, including not just the long term disposition of the UNF but also that important interim step of transporting it from various distant sites around the US to whatever is set up, whether that be an interim repository or, perhaps, a permanent geological one.  (As an aside, all present seemed in agreement that the ultimate final solution must be a long-term geological repository for high level waste.)
To the issue of moving that fuel through various communities, Furstenau remarked that there “are no known issues with shock or vibration (to the fuel) in the transportation of even very long-stored fuel” and added that “in any potential accident such as a drop, the forces experienced are all well below the yield in all aspects” – meaning that the fuel inside

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