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Foreign Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel

Federal Register / Vol. 61, No. 103 / Tuesday, May 28, 1996 / Notices 26507

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Establishment of the Fee Policy for Acceptance of Foreign Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel.

AGENCY: Department of Energy

ACTION: Notice of establishment of the fee policy for acceptance of foreign research reactor spent nuclear fuel.


SUMMARY: This notice establishes the fee policy for receipt and management of spent nuclear fuel from foreign research reactors by the Department of Energy (DOE). DOEís foreign research reactor spent fuel acceptance policy covers aluminum-based and TRIGA (Training, Research, Isotope, General Atomics) spent fuel and target material containing uranium enriched in the United States. For high-income economy countries, the fee will be no higher than $4,500 per kilogram of total mass for aluminum based spent fuel containing highly enriched uranium (HEU) and TRIGA spent fuel, and no higher than $3,750 per kilogram of total mass for aluminum based spent fuel containing low enriched uranium (LEU). The cost of shipping the spent fuel to the United States from high-income economy countries is not included in the fee, and will be borne by the reactor operators. For other countries, the Department will pay the costs for shipping, receipt, and management.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: G. F. Cole, Director, Office of Spent Fuel Management (EM-67), U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20585, Telephone (302) 903-1450.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On May 13, 1996, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Final Environmental Impact Statement on a Proposed Nuclear Weapons Nonproliferation Policy Concerning Foreign Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel (DOE/EIS-0218F of February 1996, the Final EIS). The ROD specifies that the United States will accept up to 19.2 MTHM (metric tonnes of heavy metal) of foreign research reactor spent fuel in approximately 22,700 separate elements and up to approximately an additional 0.6 MTHM of target material over a thirteen year period. All of this material contains uranium that was enriched in the United States.

DOE specified in the ROD that the following spent fuel and target material types will be accepted under this policy:

1. Spent nuclear fuel (HEU or LEU) from foreign research reactors operating on LEU fuel or in the process of converting to LEU fuel when the policy became effective.

2. Spent nuclear fuel (HEU or LEU from foreign research reactors that operated on HEU fuel when the policy became effective but that formally commit to convert to LEU fuel. Spent nuclear fuel will not be accepted from foreign research reactors that could convert to LEU fuel but whose operators or owners do not formally commit, prior to receipt of their spent fuel into the United States, to make the conversion. Similarly, target material containing uranium enriched in the United States will only be accepted if reactors wishing to ship such target material have formally committed to convert to the use of LEU targets, when such targets become available. The terms and commitments for conversion are discussed in the ROD.

3. HEU spent nuclear fuel from foreign research reactors having lifetime cores, from foreign research reactors planning to shut down by a specific date while the policy is in effect, and from foreign research reactors for which a suitable LEU fuel is not available.

4. HEU or LEU spent nuclear fuel from foreign research reactors that are already shut down.

5. Unirradiated HEU or LEU fuel from eligible foreign research reactors will be accepted as spent nuclear fuel.

 

As stated in the ROD, DOE will not accept LEU spent fuel from any individual foreign research reactor until the HEU spent fuel at that reactor has all been shipped, unless there are extenuating circumstances (e.g., deterioration of one or more LEU elements sufficient to cause a safety problem if acceptance were delayed). In addition, DOE will not accept spent fuel (HEU or LEU) from new foreign research reactors starting operation after the date of implementation of the policy.

The ROD specifies that the United States will charge high-income-economy countries a fee that will be published in a separate Federal Register Notice (this constitutes that notice). The ROD also specifies that DOE will bear the full cost of shipping and managing foreign research reactor spent fuel from other countries, including at-reactor preparation. The countries from which spent fuel would be accepted, and definition of whether or not they are considered to be high-income-economy countries, are listed in the ROD and the Final EIS. The Final EIS also identifies the estimated number of spent nuclear fuel shipments from each country, and the estimated number of casks each country would ship.

The fee will be no higher than $4,500 per kilogram of total mass (not heavy metal mass) for aluminum based spent fuel containing HEU and TRIGA spent fuel, and no higher than $3,750 per kilogram of total mass for aluminum based spent fuel containing LEU. Total mass includes, among other things, the mass of cladding, structural materials, the aluminum fuel matrix, overpack canning. The actual fee will be established in DOE's spent fuel acceptance contracts. These fees will be used to cover all aspects of receipt and management of the spent nuclear fuel by DOE, including geologic disposal. The cost of preparing the spent nuclear fuel for shipment to the United States (e.g., inspection, documentation, and canning, if necessary), and shipping the spent nuclear fuel to a DOE spent fuel management site in the United States, is not included in the fee and is not an obligation of the United States. These costs will be borne by the individual reactor operators in high-income-economy countries. Fees are due and payable upon DOE acceptance of the spent nuclear fuel at the DOE management site.

No fee is specified in this notice for acceptance of target material. This fee will be established separately at a later time.

For spent fuel not covered by a valid, signed DOE acceptance contract, DOE reserves the right to modify the fee upward or downward at any time to respond to changed circumstances, including a change in the cost of managing the spent fuel in the United States.

Issued at Washington, D.C., on May 22, 1996.

Jill Lytle, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Nuclear Material and Facility Stabilization Environmental Management.
(FR Doc. 96-13283 Filed 5-24-96; 8:45am)

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