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How Does That Work?

Nuclear fuel storage

November 7, 2016 | Jason Kuiper | Fort Calhoun Station, how does that work
nuclear fuel storage

WHAT IS IT? Since opening in 1973 OPPD’s Fort Calhoun Station has used uranium ore fuel pellets housed inside nuclear fuel bundles to make electricity. Originally, once that fuel was depleted, the “spent fuel” was to be shipped to a reprocessing facility. Changes to federal law in the 1970s meant the fuel had to be stored onsite until a permanent federal storage facility is available.

nuclear fuel storageHOW DOES IT WORK?

  • Once fuel is offloaded from the reactor, it goes into the spent fuel pool.
  • All fuel used at FCS was stored in the pool, which has been expanded several times over the years, until it was full and a dry cask storage facility was built on the plant site in 2004. That facility is designed to withstand fires, winds up to 500 mph and flooding.
  • The current facility is full and will need an addition in the next few years.
  • The final fuel for FCS will be offloaded and transferred to the spent fuel pool in the coming weeks, where it will stay for three to five years to remove decay heat before it is moved.
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About Jason Kuiper

Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He is a former staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald, where he covered a wide range of topics but spent the majority of his career covering crime. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has also appeared in several true crime documentary shows. In his free time he enjoys cooking, spending time with his wife and three children, and reading crime novels.

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