Nuclear Spent Fuel Storage

December 21st, 2020

In December, 1994, after the tumultuous legislative session from hell, and the resulting “1994 Prairie Island Bill, Ch. 641, SF 1706,” I noticed a sign up on the window of Kenyon City Hall, looking for someone to represent the City at a Northern States Power (now Xcel Energy) group to “select a site for nuclear waste” somewhere “in Goodhue County,” away from the nuclear plant site. December 14, 1994 was the first meeting of the group, which met over I think 6 months, a most bizarre series of meetings, culminating in NSP’s selection of “Site P” in Florence Township as its preferred site. At that meeting, this truckdriver realized that the seals on the TN-40 casks needed to be replaced. When I asked about that, they had no plan. Oh my, that got my attention — it was clearly not a well thought out plan.

A few nuclear spent fuel documents floated up recently, and here they are:

NUREG-2224 Dry Storage and Transportation of High Burnup Spent Nuclear Fuel

In I think May, 1995, they started filling up casks and putting them on a pad at Prairie Island, and meanwhile, the NSP group’s meetings ended, the Environmental Quality Board formed an official Citizens Advisory Task Force on nuclear waste, with the task of reviewing the NSP application to the EQB for a site permit. The Task Force ended and issued this report:

At that time, I was spending a lot of time learning about casks, paying attention to anything that came up, with particular interest in whether casks could indeed be unloaded.

Trans Nuclear casks were used at Prairie Island, they’re also at Arkansas Nuclear 1, somewhere else to… Here’s a miscellaneous dock from TransNuclear (it has another name now):

Transnuclear Handouts – Part 3 of 6 – 10/07/09 Public Meeting

Around that time was the “Point Beach Ignition Event” where they left the zinc assembly in the boric acid solution in the cask overnight until the next shift came in, and then tried to weld it. Zinc + boric acid = hydrogen. BOOM! Clue: “Gas ignition event” = EXPLOSION! The cask lid bent up a few inches (it was 9″ thick!!), the wedges holding assembly basket in place blew out onto the floor…


And then there’s the 3 Stooges cask unloading at INEL, this is H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S:

Putting this up for future reference – a permanent repository!!!

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