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Time to Dispel the Myths about Used Nuclear Fuel

June 2014-

By: Commissioner Jack Janda
On a recent tour of the Hanford Site with the Energy Northwest Executive Board, I was struck by the difference between the nuclear waste the Department of Energy is dealing with from our country’s defense programs, and what some people call nuclear “waste” from the generation of electricity.

Used Nuclear Fuel - Dry Storage Area

People tend to confuse nuclear defense waste with used fuel from commercially-operated nuclear energy facilities like the used fuel stored at Columbia Generating Station, the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear energy facility. But there is a key difference. Unlike high-level radioactive liquid waste at Hanford, used commercial reactor fuel is, and always remains, a solid ceramic pellet.

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