Scriba (WSYR-TV) -- The Nine Mile Point Nuclear Plant in Scriba is running out of room for what it calls spent fuel. The nuclear waste needs to be stored safely and now the facility is preparing to store it in a new way.
The facility will begin storing the used fuel in concrete and steel blocks.
"This is for that fuel that has run its life in the reactor core, and has been removed from the core and then it will spend a minimum of five years in the spent fuel pool before it's moved out to this facility,” said Constellation Energy’s Jill Lyons.
After 40 years, the spent fuel pools are filling up. The so-called dry storage – using concrete and steel blocks -- is a common practice in the nuclear industry. The airtight containers are built to withstand a natural disaster and shield radiation.
The facility has been doing test runs, to give workers practice with the heavy machinery. They will do a few dry runs before they actually start moving the spent fuel. And the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will also oversee it to make sure it's being done properly.
“We have all the precautions in place. There really is a safe, careful process of moving these so there is not any risk for the public at all and we've taken precautions to make sure it's safe for the workers,” Lyons said.
The new system is still just a short-term fix, until the Federal government comes up with a long-term storage option for U.S. nuclear plants. Last year, President Obama announced he wasn't going to allow nuclear waste to be buried at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
The spent fuel can be stored in the modules for 20 years. Constellation Energy will start moving the used fuel in September. They expect to be finished with the first round by early fall.