Yucca Mountain Program Overview Presented to: National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Michael T. Richard Deputy Assistant Secretary Office of Congressional & Intergovernmental Affairs July 17, 2007 New York City, NY
Mission and Priorities • Mission: Our mission is to manage and dispose of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel in a manner that protects health, safety, and the environment; enhances national and energy security; and merits public confidence. • Priorities: • After over 20 years of scientific study, Congress passed a joint resolution to designate the Yucca Mountain site for repository development and move ahead to submit a license application for repository construction authorization. • Protecting public health, safety, and the environment remain our top priorities. Current locations of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level radioactive waste (HLW) destined for geologic disposal: 121 sites in 39 states
SNF and High-Level Defense Waste SNF is produced by Naval, DOE, and research Reactors High-level defense waste (in liquid form) from nuclear weapons programs
How is this SNF and HLW Presently Stored? Glass Logs Cooling Pools Dry Cask Storage Liquid Storage
Sources and Quantities of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste • Commercial spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants: • Current: ~ 55,700 Metric Tons (MT) (2006) • Projection through 2055: ~129,000 MT • DOE spent nuclear fuel: 2,500 MT • Naval reactor fuel: 65 MT • Research fuel: ~16 MT • DOE-owned high-level waste to be vitrified (encased in glass) • Projected through 2046: ~22,000 canisters • Surplus plutonium: 50 MT Yucca Mountain capacity is 70,000 MT -- A statutory, not technical, limit
CongressApproved Site 2002 PresidentRecommendedSite 2002 SecretaryRecommendedSite 2002 ViabilityAssessment1998 Authorization toReceive & Possess The National Repository Program ConstructionAuthorization P LicenseApplication 2008 P P P P P YM only site tobe characterized 1987 Nuclear WastePolicy Act 1982 P Next Step Future Milestones Actions Completed
Project Regulators, Oversight, and Interested Parties Review • National Academy of Sciences • Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board • Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste Regulation • Nuclear Regulatory Commission • Environmental Protection Agency • Department of Transportation Oversight • Federal Government • Government Accountability Office • State/Local Government • Other Stakeholders • Host State and Affected Counties The White House Congress • Federal Agencies • Federal Emergency Mgmt. Agency • Dept. of the Interior • Dept of Labor • US Geological Survey • Other Interest Groups • Professional Societies and Organizations • Environmental Groups • Public Interest Groups • States/Regional Organizations American Indian Nations • Public • Media • Academic Institutions • Citizens • Civic Groups • Educational Organizations • Transportation Industry • Cask Designers and Manufacturers • Carriers & Transportation Service Contractors • Electric Utilities • Utility Transportation • Groups • Utility Technical & Information Groups • International • International Governments • International Agencies • International Organizations • Nation’s Ratepayers • National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners • Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition
Why This Program Matters National Security: Safely dispose of waste in one location Non-proliferation: Support nationalpolicy Energy Security: Support the availability of the nuclear option Protect the Environment: Facilitate site cleanup • National Security: • To support continuing operation of the Navy’s principal combat vessels, a repository will provide the safe and secure disposal of the Navy’s spent fuel. • Homeland Security • A repository promotes homeland security objectives by consolidating at one secure government location nuclear materials currently located at 121 temporary storage sites in 39 states, within a 75-mile radius of 161 million Americans and nearly every major waterway. • Nuclear Non-proliferation: • Our repository program is the technical foundation of our international position on nuclear non-proliferation. • Our commitment to disposing of waste in a secure location encourages other nuclear nations to follow. • Through disposal of U.S. fuel returned from other countries, we aid in nuclear non-proliferation. • Energy Security: • By building the repository and disposing of commercial spent nuclear fuel, we support the option of nuclear energy, which makes up 20% of the country’s electrical energy supply. • Spent fuel acceptance will meet the government obligation to dispose of commercial spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power reactors, expected in 1998 under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. • Protecting the Environment: • Building the repository and accepting waste supports the Nation’s need to clean up radioactive waste from the Cold War. • Timely opening will avoid additional site storage costs. • A repository is needed to complete cleanup at sites such as Hanford, WA, Savannah River, SC and West Valley, NY.
Location of Yucca Mountain, Nevada HUMBOLDT COUNTY ELKO COUNTY WASHOE COUNTY PERSHING COUNTY Counties designated as Affected Units of Local Government LANDER COUNTY EUREKA COUNTY CHURCHILL COUNTY WHITE PINE COUNTY CARSON CITY STOREY LYON DOUGLAS NYE COUNTY MINERAL COUNTY ESMERALDA COUNTY LINCOLN COUNTY NELLIS AIR FORCE RANGE • 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas in Nye County • Located on western boundary of the Nevada Test Site, a DOE facility NV TEST SITE CLARK COUNTY YUCCA MOUNTAIN INYO COUNTY CALIFORNIA LAS VEGAS
Program Strategic Objectives License Application • Submit a high-quality License Application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission no later than June 30, 2008 Transportation • Develop and begin implementation of a comprehensive National Transportation Plan that accommodates state, local and tribal concerns and input to the greatest extent possible Staffing • Design, staff and train the OCRWM organization so it has the skills and culture needed to design, license, and manage the construction and operation of the Yucca Mountain Project with safety, quality, and cost effectiveness Liability • Address the Federal Government’s contractual obligations to move spent fuel from nuclear plant sites
Program Funding • Congress established the Nuclear Waste Fund to provide funding for repository development and operations • Utilities pay 1 mil per kilowatt-hour fee on electricity generated and sold from nuclear power plants • Revenues average $750 million per year • $14.8 billion in fees paid to date • Excess funds invested in Treasury securities • $11.2 billion in interest earned to date • Market value of the Fund is $19.5 billion as of December 2006 • Nuclear Waste Fund outlays are counted against the DOE appropriation, limiting the fund’s use for its intended purpose
Growing Government Liability • Court ruled in 1997 that DOE is liable for damages incurred due to missed deadline to pickup waste in 1998 • 56 lawsuits pending against DOE for damages for delay in waste pickup • Government has settled with over 20% of the industry • Settlements will allow the DOE to proceed with critical communications with settled companies for waste acceptance planning • Department estimates the Federal Government’s liability could be approximately $7 billion (plus $500 million or more for each additional year of delay)
Proposed Legislative Provisions • Permanent Land Withdrawal • Licensing, Capacity Limit • Licensing, NRC process • Licensing, Infrastructure • Funding Reform • Regulatory Requirements • Transportation Safety and Security • Water Rights • Waste Confidence
Reasons to Move Forward • It’s been 25 years since the NWPA was enacted and 20 years since it was last amended. The NWPA requires the Federal Government to build a repository for the Nation’s nuclear waste. • Federal Government liability is growing and every year of delay ensures a larger financial burden will be passed on to future generations. • This legislation facilitates construction and operation of the repository and transportation infrastructure activities.
Key Issues • Legislation-Submitted March 6, 2007 • Land Withdrawal • Capacity Limit • Waste Fund Receipts Reclassification • FY 2007 Appropriations • Revisions to Environmental Protection Agency Standard 40CFR197
Global Nuclear Energy Partnership and Yucca Mountain • Yucca Mountain is still needed under any fuel cycle scenario • We are proceeding with our base case to deal with current and planned inventory of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste • If the technology is proven and developed, the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership could provide improvements to spent fuel disposal at a repository by: • Significantly reducing the volume of waste • Enhancing thermal management by reducing waste form heat load • Reducing the amount of long-lived radionuclides requiring disposal
Summary • Entering an important period for the nuclear industry and for the disposition of nuclear waste in the United States. • The Department is committed to the development of Yucca Mountain as a geologic repository.
What is Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Waste ? The bulk of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) is produced by the operation of nuclear power-generating plants (104 presently operating in US). After several years within the reactor vessel, the fuel rods are removed and thereafter referred to as “spent.”
How will SNF and HLW be Transported? • Per 2004 Record of Decision, DOE will transport SNF and HLW mostly by rail, with additional limited truck and barge shipments
Integration of Canisters into Yucca Mountain Planning • DOE decided to implement a Transportation, Aging and Disposal (TAD) canistered system approach in October 2005 • TAD system will : • Eliminate a number of technical issues • Support the standardization of SNF storage, transport, aging and disposal packaging, allowing integration of SNF handling operations • Utilize utility fuel handling experience in packaging SNF • Simplify DOE operations and minimizes redundant handling of bare SNF assemblies at the repository • Reduce low-level waste production and worker radiation exposure at DOE facilities • Reduce complexity and cost of DOE facilities
History of U.S. Nuclear Waste Policy • 1956: National Academy of Sciences concludes that a deep geologic repository is the best permanent solution for disposal of high-level nuclear wastes (HLW) • 1977: Reprocessing of commercial spent nuclear fuel (SNF) is prohibited under President Carter • 1982: Congress passes Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) • Made DOE responsible for the permanent disposal of U.S.’s SNF and HLW • Created Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in DOE • Set up program to begin investigation of sites as potential geologic repositories and established site recommendation/approval process • Established Nuclear Waste Fund, and directed DOE to begin accepting commercial spent fuel for disposal in 1998 in exchange for utilities’ payment of fees into the fund
History of U.S. Nuclear Waste Policy,(continued) • 1987: Congress passes Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act – directs DOE to study only the Yucca Mountain site • 1990: National Academy of Sciences issues report, “Rethinking High-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal” -- reaffirms importance of geologic disposal • 1992: Congress passes Energy Policy Act – directs EPA to set radiation protection standard for Yucca Mountain based on National Academy of Sciences report • 1998: DOE issues Viability Assessment of Yucca Mountain -- status report on the site characterization of Yucca Mountain • 2002:President recommended and Congress passed a joint resolution approving the Yucca Mountain site for development as a repository
NWPA-Directed Site Selection Process Through 1987 Types of geologic formations considered were salt, basalt, and tuff.