ANS issues report on spent fuel

August 9, 2011, 3:44PMANS Nuclear CafeDan Yurman

The American Nuclear Society issues a comprehensive spent fuel report

spent fuel canistersOne day ahead of the Blue Ribbon Commission's draft recommendations for managing spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste, the American Nuclear Society on July 28 issued its own review of spent fuel management options.

The Blue Ribbon Commission  report recommends interim storage and a renewed hunt for a permanent geologic repository. This will raise the profile of salt as an option, which will bring the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, in New Mexico, back into the equation as a possible host site.

Critics of the expected recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Commission say that reprocessing is a viable option and that the commission's dour outlook on fast breeder reactors is not justified by current efforts in China, Russia, and India.

Proponents say that the commission's recommendations represent a consensus political judgment that works in an off election year. It won't make Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) mad, which keeps him in the traces for President Obama's heavy lifting in the Senate.

In the meantime, ANS notes that the study will help citizens, thought and opinion leaders, and elected officials have a rational dialog about the facts of managing spent fuel.

Here's the text of ANS's press release

La Grange Park, IL - July 28 - The Report of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) President's Special Committee on Used Nuclear Fuel Management was issued today, ANS President Eric P. Loewen, PhD, announced. "This report demonstrates the vitality and relevance of the Society to the continuing discussion about the future of nuclear energy," Loewen said.

In early 2010, then ANS President Tom Sanders recognized the importance of the question of what to do with used nuclear fuel and formed the President's Special Committee on Used Nuclear Fuel Management. Eleven members of ANS worked to prepare the 64 page report which describes feasible used nuclear fuel management options and explores the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Professor Audeen Fentiman, professor of nuclear engineering at Purdue University and Chair of the Special Committee said in describing the report, "members of the Committee worked long hours in order to create this document and we believe that it will be of considerable value in shaping the debate about the management of used nuclear fuel."

When asked about the report, former ANS President Tom Sanders noted, "I was concerned that too much of the conversation about used nuclear fuel was based on unsound scientific and engineering principles, and I firmly believed that the role of ANS is to provide unbiased reporting so that citizens and policy makers are able to make informed judgments about nuclear issues. Our hope is that our work would also be useful input to the report of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future."

Concluded Loewen, "The Report will serve as the chief source of information about this issue; the painstaking care and thoughtfulness with which the committee members acted is ample evidence of what the Society does best: solid research, unblemished by an agenda other than the search for truth. They all deserve our thanks and respect."

For more information about the American Nuclear Society, visit

To view the report, follow the link.

Established in 1954, ANS is a professional organization of engineers and scientists devoted to the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology. Its 11,500 members come from diverse technical backgrounds covering the full range of engineering disciplines as well as the physical and biological sciences. They are advancing the application of these technologies to improve the lives of the world community through national and international enterprise within government, academia, research laboratories and private industry.



Dan Yurman publishes Idaho Samizdat, a blog on nuclear energy. He is a frequent contributor to ANS Nuclear Cafe.


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