For more than 30 years, Connecticut Yankee stored its used nuclear fuel assemblies in the reactor's spent fuel pool located on the plant site. The fuel will be stored at the site until the Department of Energy (DOE) meets its legal obligation to remove it.
After an extensive analyses and comparison of fuel pool and dry cask storage options, CY chose the dry cask option for storing its 1019 spent fuel assemblies.
The fuel storage facility site, selected from eight carefully researched areas, is located on CY's property about three-quarters of a mile from the former reactor site. The secluded location of the dry fuel Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) is tucked in a slight valley between natural ridgelines and is out of sight of nearby rivers. The NAC-MPC fuel storage and transport canister system chosen by CY is licensed by the NRC for both storage and transportation.
Construction of the reinforced concrete storage pad and vertical concrete and steel storage casks that hold the fuel was completed in 2002. Transferring the fuel from the wet spent fuel pool to dry storage/transportation canisters began in the first quarter of 2004 and was completed March 30, 2005 (shown below).
There are 43 dry storage casks on the 70 by 228-foot, two-foot-thick concrete pad. Forty of the casks contain spent fuel assemblies and three store sections of the reactor vessel internals that is classified as high level radioactive waste (Greater Than Class-C waste). Each concrete cask has a three and a half-inch steel liner surrounded by 21 inches of reinforced concrete. Each storage cask, when loaded with the storage/transportation canister, weighs 126 tons. The entire dry storage process -- procuring materials, fabricating the fuel containers, constructing the storage facility, and transferring the fuel -- took approximately three years to complete.
Under a contract that the DOE signed with all nuclear plant owners under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA), the DOE was to have a disposal facility open and receiving spent fuel by January 31, 1998. To date, the DOE has not constructed a disposal facility, nor has it removed any spent fuel or GTCC waste from the site, and it is uncertain when it will. In the meantime, it is CY’s responsibility as a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensee to store the spent nuclear fuel in accordance with NRC regulations.
Since 1998 Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company, Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company, and Yankee Atomic Electric Company have been in litigation with the DOE seeking monetary damages for the DOE’s breach of its contractual obligations to begin removing spent nuclear fuel and Greater than Class C waste from the three sites by the end of January 1998. In early 2013 the three companies received nearly $160 million in court awarded damages from the federal government for the years up to 2001 for Connecticut Yankee and Yankee Atomic, and 2002 for Maine Yankee. In November 2013, as a result of a second round of litigation filed in 2007, U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Merow entered judgment on his decision to award the three companies approximately $235.4 million in damages for the years 2002/3-2008 resulting from DOE’s continuing failure to remove the spent nuclear fuel and Greater than Class C waste from the sites. The companies urge the federal government to fulfill its commitment to remove this material from their sites without further delay and to avoid filing a costly appeal that would only prolong the legal process and adversely affect ratepayers and taxpayers. The three companies filed a third round of litigation in august 2013 for continuing damages suffered in the years 2009-2012. The longer the federal government delays in fulfilling its obligations the longer the companies' damages will continue.
Please go to the Document Room to read the court decisions and company statements that include further background information regarding the ongoing litigation.