The following was provided by NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.
The NRC has approved a license amendment involving spent nuclear fuel movements and storage at the Indian Point nuclear power plant.
Under the plan, Entergy will be able to load fuel in the Indian Point 3 spent fuel pool into a specially designed cask (capable of holding 12 spent fuel assemblies); move the loaded cask, outside the buildings, to the Indian Point 2 spent fuel pool; unload the cask; and subsequently load that fuel into a more typical dry storage cask (holding 32 assemblies) that will be transported to the plant’s Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI).
Entergy requested the license amendment because the Indian Point 3 spent fuel pool is virtually full and, without the new approach, it would not be able to conduct a scheduled refueling outage early next year. The company did explore installing a larger crane in the Indian Point 3 spent fuel pool building to allow the movement of larger dry casks, but it ultimately determined that would not be feasible.
The proposal was first submitted to the NRC on July 8, 2009. Following that submittal, the agency began a detailed review that included numerous Requests for Additional Information (RAIs) sent to Entergy that demanded responses. The NRC also conducted public meetings regarding the license amendment request on June 15, 2009 (a pre-submittal meeting), June 11, 2010, and April 28, 2011. The NRC has now determined the plan can be safely carried out. However, we will have inspectors on hand during dry runs and spent fuel movements to ensure that all safety measures are being closely adhered to.
Entergy intends to begin the spent fuel transfers next month.
There were no requests for a hearing on the proposal.