Georgia among top 10 in spent nuclear fuel

Storage pools vulnerable to accidents

South Carolina and Georgia rank among the nation's top 10 states in the amount of spent nuclear fuel stored at commercial power reactors, such as Plant Vogtle, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies.

The study, by senior scholar Robert Alvarez, found that U.S. reactors have generated about 65,000 metric tons of spent fuel, of which 75 percent remains stored in pools, which, he contends, are more vulnerable to leaks and accidents than above-ground "dry cask" storage sites. (A metric ton is 1,000 kilograms, or about 2,200 pounds.)

Georgia, in particular, has a huge proportion of its spent fuel -- 1,972 of a total 2,490 metric tons -- in "wet storage" facilities, the report said. In South Carolina, 2,305 metric tons of the total spent fuel volume of 3,892 metric tons are in pools.