No. I- 03-039   June 10, 2003
CONTACT: Diane Screnci (610) 337-5330
Neil A. Sheehan (610) 337-5331
E-mail: opa1@nrc.gov

NRC, PSEG NUCLEAR TO DISCUSS SPENT FUEL STORAGE PLANS
FOR SALEM AND HOPE CREEK NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS


Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will meet with representatives of Public Service Enterprise Group Nuclear (PSEG Nuclear) on Thursday, June 19, to discuss the company’s plans to use dry cask storage for radioactive spent fuel at the Hope Creek and Salem nuclear power plants. The plants are located in Hancocks Bridge (Salem County), N.J., and operated by PSEG Nuclear.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Public Meeting Room at the NRC Region I Office, 475 Allendale Road in King of Prussia, Pa. The public is invited to observe and will have one or more opportunities to offer comments and/or ask questions of the NRC staff before the session is adjourned.

PSEG Nuclear has notified the NRC that it plans to seek approval for a common Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation, or ISFSI, for the Salem and Hope Creek plants. The ISFSI would hold multiple dry cask storage vaults containing spent nuclear fuel.

At present, U.S. nuclear power plants have two options for the storage of spent nuclear fuel, that is, fuel that has already been used in a reactor. A plant can either store fuel rods in a circulating-water spent fuel pool or in a “dry” cask storage facility. Under the latter option, fuel is removed from the pool after a sufficient period of time has elapsed and placed inside stainless-steel casks. Those casks are then sealed, filled with an inert gas and transported to an outdoor concrete pad, where they are placed inside specially designed vaults made of steel-reinforced concrete. Convective air flow through vents at the top and bottom of the vaults helps ensure that the fuel remains properly cooled.

Dry cask storage facilities are currently in use at about two dozen plant sites across the U.S. More information about dry cask storage is available on the NRC web site at: www.nrc.gov