Spent Fuel

Water serves as a natural—and one of the most effective—barriers to radiation. This is one of the reasons that used, or spent, fuel is stored in pools. 
Rods containing uranium fuel pellets are bundled together to form one fuel assembly. Each assembly is about 13 feet high and 8 inches square. After it spends about four years in the reactor giving off heat, a fuel assembly is spent and ready to be stored in water in the spent fuel pool. The spent fuel pools at Indian Point are approximately 40 feet deep with a perimeter of about 30 feet by 35 feet. Spent fuel assemblies sit on the bottom of each pool and are covered by about 25 feet of water. This water provides cooling to keep the fuel thermally cool, as well as protection to plant personnel from the effects of radiation as they perform work around the fuel pool.
Fuel assemblies are arranged neatly in racks at the bottom of the pool to maximize the space available.

Spent Fuel Pools at Indian Point

There is one spent fuel pool each for Indian Point Unit 2 and Unit 3. Entergy previously completed removal of all fuel from the unit 1 spent fuel pool.

The spent fuel pools at Indian Point have extremely robust design and construction features, including:

  • a base set on bedrock
  • steel-reinforced concrete walls on the sides and on bottom 4 to 6 feet thick
  • a quarter-inch stainless steel liner on the inside of each pool
  • multiple, redundant back-up cooling systems for each pool
  • additional back-up mechanisms and enhancements added after 9/11/2001 which enable personnel to quickly add additional water to the pool in the unlikely event of damage to the pool

Fuel at Indian Point is stored in via two methods – in spent fuel pools and in dry cask storage.