April 25, 2013
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Director, Office of Public Affairs
One of the participants in the new video takes a question.
Art Linkletter, a 1950s and ‘60s radio and television host, used to interview children for his show “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” In that spirit, at last year’s “Take your Child to Work Day” at the NRC, we seized the opportunity to see what kids knew about NRC and related matters – and make it into a video.
We asked: Do you know what radiation is? We got a variety of answers – some vague and some spot on (they’ve obviously been listening to their parents).
Then we asked: Do you know what has radiation in it? No, not candy, despite what the kids might think. But yes, bananas and salt, and it also comes from the sun and from the stars, as explained by the NRC expert who answered the question.
Other questions we asked include what do nuclear power plants generate and what is a regulation. We have a variety of NRC experts answering all the questions – and correcting a few misunderstandings.
We hope you enjoy the video, and that teachers and parents can use it to help explain nuclear matters to school-aged children. And we want thank all the kids who participated in this project.
Note: A revised, shortened version of the video is now up!
April 16, 2013
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Director, Office of Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation
Spent fuel dry casks
While no one can say with certainty today where spent nuclear fuel will ultimately go for long-term storage or disposal, one thing is clear: the current methods of spent fuel storage are safe.
Managing the “back end” of the nuclear fuel cycle – what happens to the fuel after it is taken out of a reactor – may never be completely separated from political and economic considerations. But the technical challenges are fairly straightforward. Spent fuel is hot. And it is extremely radioactive. It must be kept cool and it must be shielded to protect workers, the public and the environment. It must also be properly controlled to prevent it from achieving a sustained nuclear chain reaction, also known as going critical.
The NRC has updated its Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel fact sheet, which explains the two major ways spent fuel is managed – in pools and in dry cask storage. The fact sheet explains the regulatory requirements, inspections and monitoring that ensure spent fuel is managed safely. It also details improvements the NRC has made to address concerns raised by the accident at Japan’s Fukushima plant and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
An NRC backgrounder, Dry Cask Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel, provides more detail on how this management strategy evolved, the basic requirements for dry storage, different licensing options and opportunities for public input.
A great deal more information on spent nuclear fuel storage is also available on the NRC’s website. We encourage you to read about our activities in this area and post your questions, comments and concerns below.