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Spent Nuclear Fuel Management

The Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center (INTEC) was established in the 1950s as the Chemical Processing Plant (CPP) to recover usable uranium in spent nuclear fuel used in government reactors. The facility recovered more than $1 billion worth of highly enriched uranium, which was returned to the government fuel cycle.

In 1992, the Department of Energy announced that the changing world political situation and the lack of demand for highly enriched uranium made reprocessing no longer necessary. In 1998, the plant was renamed INTEC.

Today, the workers at INTEC have turned their focus to cleanup and protection of the Snake River Plain Aquifer. Planned and/or ongoing major cleanup activities include safe transfer of spent nuclear fuel from wet to dry storage and preparation for final disposition at an off-site repository.

Building CPP-666 at INTEC, contains a modern, large storage area consisting of six pools for storing spent nuclear fuel. Radioactive spent fuel is safely stored in racks beneath pools containing some three million gallons of water. The water provides Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center protective shielding while protecting the environment. The fuel storage pool area is built into the concrete structure of the building. Because fuel placed into the pool at CPP-666 produces very low amounts of heat, water is not necessary to cool the fuel, but is used to shield workers from radioactivity. Eventually, all spent fuel will be removed from underwater storage pools, placed in a dry storage system and prepared for shipment to a national nuclear waste repository. To date, the basin is 95 percent empty. Experimental Breeder Reactor-II spent nuclear fuel is being transferred to two dry-storage locations at the Materials and Fuels Complex: the Radioactive Scrap and Waste Facility and the Fuel Conditioning Facility. Advanced Test Reactor spent nuclear fuel is being transferred to CPP-603 for dry storage.

IEC also manages spent nuclear fuel (in dry form) at CPP-603, CPP-749, and a cask storage pad on the southeastern portion of INTEC.

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Project Image #1 for the Spent Nuclear Fuel Management Project

Project Image #2 for the Spent Nuclear Fuel Management Project