Hearing set on Millstone plan to expand its dry cask storage

Waterford - The Connecticut Siting Council will conduct a hearing next month on Dominion's application to expand its on-site storage for nuclear waste at the Millstone Power Station.

The hearing will take place from 2 to 7 p.m. Dec. 20 at Town Hall. The siting council on Thursday set the date for the hearing, along with the dates for other steps in the application procedure. The council decided it will release a draft decision on Jan. 24 and announce a final decision five days later.

In its application, submitted to the siting council on Oct. 30, Dominion seeks a permit that would enable a seven-fold increase in the number of dry cask storage units at the Millstone site, from 19 to 135 units. That would be enough to hold all the spent nuclear fuel generated by the two operating and one decommissioned power plants at the site until the newest plant, Unit 3, is decommissioned in 2045.

Currently, 18 of the 19 dry cask units are at capacity. The company already has permission to build an additional 30 units but has determined it would easier to build all the units it will need for the three plants at once rather than incrementally.

Construction of the new units would cost $11.3 million, Dominion said in its application. The project would include some modifications to the stormwater drainage system around the concrete pad that holds the dry cask units, which are basically a passive system for storing spent nuclear fuel after it has been cooled for about five years in a deep water pool. Ken Holt, Dominion spokesman, said the drainage modifications will make it easier to load the nuclear waste into the concrete-and-steel chambers.

Holt said Dominion would like to begin construction next year and begin loading spent fuel into the new dry casks in 2015.

In comments submitted to the siting council that are included with the application, the Waterford Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that the siting council review the need for storage of nuclear waste at Millstone every five years. The nation is still without a permanent disposal site for nuclear waste. A plan to create a repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada was scrapped in 2009, and no new proposal has emerged since.

For more information on the application, visit www.ct.gov/csc/cwp/view.asp?a=962&;Q=513322&PM=1.

j.benson@theday.com

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