Morning Briefing - July 11, 2018
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July 11, 2018

NRC Eyes Ruling on Extended DOE Three Mile Island Waste Storage

By ExchangeMonitor

The Department of Energy expects by Sept. 30 to answer questions from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding the requested 20-year extension of the license for storage of radioactive waste from the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant at the Idaho National Laboratory.

That would meet the deadline set by the NRC in its Jan. 29 request for additional information on the Three Mile Island Unit 2 Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation.

The Energy Department applied in March 2017 to push back the license expiration from March 2019 to March 2039. The NRC asked for more information in fall 2017 and again in January, the latter request covering 22 distinct items within four topics: scoping evaluation, aging management review, aging management programs, and time-limited aging analyses.

Officials with the two agencies met on June 7 to discuss the upcoming DOE response, according to a June 29 memorandum, posted Tuesday on the NRC website, from Kristina Banovac, a project manager in the agency’s Division of Spent Fuel Management, to division Director Michael Layton.

The Energy Department said it would notify the NRC of any changes to its timeline for delivering the information, Banovac wrote. If the NRC does not require further information, staff anticipates ruling on the license extension by next March. “The NRC staff noted that because the submittal of the [license renewal application] was timely, the existing license will not expire until a final decision concerning the renewal has been made by the NRC,” according to Banovac.

The Energy Department has committed not to import any more Three Mile Island waste to Idaho or expand the storage pad, which contains 341 canisters of spent nuclear fuel core debris left by the partial meltdown of the Pennsylvania reactor in March 1979.

The Energy Department pledged, in an agreement with the Idaho state government, to remove the waste by Jan. 1, 2035.