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NRC Issues NUREG Regarding Spent Fuel Transportation Risk Assessments

The NRC is issuing NUREG-2125, “Spent Fuel Transportation Risk Assessment.” This NUREG provides an update of the estimated impacts from transporting spent nuclear fuel (SNF) by highway or railway in NRC certified casks under both routine and accident conditions. The risks associated with SNF transportation come from the radiation that the spent fuel emits, which is reduced—but not eliminated—by the transportation cask’s shielding, and from the possibility of the release of some quantity of radioactive material during a severe accident.

This NUREG shows that the risk from radiation emitted from the cask is a small fraction of naturally occurring background radiation, and that the risk from accidental release of radioactive material is several orders of magnitude less. Because there have been only minor changes to the radioactive material transportation regulations between NRC’s original transportation risk assessment, NUREG–0170, and this risk assessment, the calculated dose due to the radiation from the cask under routine transport conditions is similar to what was found earlier. The improved analysis tools and techniques, improved data availability, and a reduction in the number of conservative assumptions has made the estimate of accident risk from the release of radioactive material in this study approximately five orders of magnitude less than what was estimated in NUREG–0170. The results in NUREG–2125 demonstrate that the NRC’s regulations in Part 71 of Title 10 of the CFR, ‘‘Packaging and Transportation of Radioactive Material’’ continue to provide adequate protection of public health and safety during the transportation of SNF.

To access the Federal Register notice, click here.

To access NUREG -2125, click here