Excerpt from Orange county register:
“Unlike the reactor cores, the spent fuel pools are not protected by redundant emergency makeup and cooling systems and/or housed within robust containment structures having reinforced concrete walls several feet thick,” Dave Lochbaum, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Nuclear Safety Project, told senators.
“Thus, large amounts of radioactive material – which under the (Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982) should be stored within a federal repository designed to safely and securely isolate it from the environment for at least 10,000 years – instead remains at the reactor sites.”
These “spent fuel pools” were initially designed to hold about one reactor core’s worth of fuel, Lochbaum said. But since the feds have failed miserably to fulfill their promise to permanently dispose of this dangerous waste, some pools are holding up to nearly nine times that amount.
Finally, there is a glimmer of hope that – more than 30 years after the Nuclear Waste Policy Act passed, and 15 years after the feds guaranteed they’d start accepting the waste – paralysis and dithering might give way to action.
In June, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and three other senators introduced the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013, “a bipartisan, comprehensive plan for safeguarding and permanently disposing of tens of thousands of tons of dangerous radioactive nuclear waste currently accumulating at sites dispersed across the country,” including areas at risk of earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters, they said in a prepared statement.”