This report provides an evaluation of the cost implications of incorporating a consolidated interim storage facility (ISF) into the waste management system (WMS). Specifically, the impacts of the timing of opening an ISF relative to opening a repository were analyzed to understand the potential effects on total system costs. Based on constant dollar costs, this report documents evaluations of different scenarios involving shipment of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) from reactors in dual-purpose storage and transportation canisters (DPCs) currently being used by utilities for dry storage at reactor sites. A number of pertinent conclusions can be drawn from this evaluation, such as:
· Delay in repository availability increases total system costs. Any delay in opening a repository increases total system costs, regardless of whether the system has an ISF or not. This is due to the increased cost associated with an extended duration for storage, whether at an ISFSI or ISF, until such time as the waste can be disposed.
· There is a (potentially large) total system lifecycle cost avoidance in all scenarios with an ISF when compared to scenarios with no ISF for the assumptions used in this study. However, most of the cost avoidance occurs several decades after the ISF is opened. The total WMS cost differential over the long-term is mainly attributed to the reduced operational costs of storing the fuel in a consolidated facility versus at individual reactor sites. Future work will explore the sensitivity of these results to assumptions related to the economic environment such as discount, escalation, and inflation rates.
· Earlier establishment of an ISF allows for more avoidance of post-shutdown at-reactor storage costs for any repository opening date. An ISF allows earlier acceptance of fuel from reactors, which reduces at-reactor costs from a total system perspective.
· Transportation costs have little impact on a waste management system with or without an ISF. These impacts range from 3–11% of the total cost in all scenarios. Therefore, transporting the fuel twice does not appear to be a significant cost concern relative to other system costs.
In conclusion, an ISF integrated into the waste management system can have a total system economic benefit relative to the status quo, but that benefit will not be realized for many decades. An ISF has the potential to avoid billions of dollars of total system cost in the long run. However, alternative economic assumptions, to be explored in a future sensitivity study, may affect the results of this evaluation. Therefore, it may be best to view an ISF as an economic investment in the nuclear waste management system, providing a range of benefits that have been identified in previous studies, most recently in the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future’s final report. These benefits include accelerated initiation of federal waste acceptance, enhanced stakeholder confidence, enhanced waste management system flexibility, and the development of experience related to large-scale SNF handling, storage, and transportation to benefit design and operation of a repository.

Josh Jarrell
Robby Joseph
Rob Howard
Gordon Petersen
Riley Cumberland
Mark Nutt
Joe Carter
Tom Cotton
Publication Date: 
September, 2016
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