The NFRC was established in 2002 to promote the construction and operation of nuclear reprocessing facilities. NFRC promotes reprocessing commercial spent nuclear fuel that is generated by commercial nuclear power plants.

Reprocessing dramatically reduces the amount of high-level radioactive waste that would have to be stored in a geologic repository. We also support reprocessing plutonium and highly enriched uranium from nuclear warheads into fuel for use in commercial nuclear power plants.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

House Passes Nuclear Waste Bill To Revive Yucca Mountain

Norris McDonald at Yucca Mountain
Norris McDonald at Yucca Mountain

On May 10, 2018, the House  approved a bill (H.R. 3053 - Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017) to revive the mothballed nuclear waste dump at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain.  The bill would help solve a nuclear-waste storage problem that has festered for more than three decades.  The House approved the bill, 340-72, sending the measure to the Senate, where Nevada’s two senators have vowed to block it.
More than 80,000 metric tons of spent fuel from commercial nuclear power plants sit idle in 121 communities across 39 states. 
The bill directs the Energy Department to continue a licensing process for Yucca Mountain while also moving forward with a separate plan for a temporary storage site in New Mexico or Texas.
This bill amends the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 to direct the Department of Energy (DOE) to initiate a program to consolidate and temporarily store commercial spent nuclear fuel during the development, construction, and operation of a permanent nuclear waste repository.
The bill addresses federal land withdrawal and related management issues, including the permanent withdrawal of specific federal land for repository use by DOE, updating the Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing process and conditions for the repository, and limiting activities relating to developing a separate defense waste repository used for storing high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel derived from the atomic energy defense activities of DOE.
DOE may enter into agreements to provide benefits to state, local, and Tribal governments that might host or be affected by facilities related to storing nuclear waste.
The bill revises the method by which DOE funds its nuclear waste management activities though the collection and usage of the Nuclear Waste Fund.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Coal To Liquids

Clint Crackel
Coal Can Eliminate Our Need for Foreign Oil

Clinton E. Crackel 

The Fischer-Tropsch process was developed in Germany in 1925 as means to convert coal into synthetic fuel for use in motorized vehicles. During World War II this process accounted for approximately 9% of the total German war production of fuel and 25% for automobiles.

In 2012, Princeton University researchers found the United States could eliminate the need for crude oil by substituting it with synthetic fuels (Sullivan, John. "Synthetic fuels could eliminate entire U.S. need for crude oil, create 'new economy'." News at Princeton. N.p., 27 Nov. 2012. Web.). At least we could eliminate our dependence on foreign oil by substituting it with the Fischer-Tropsch coal-to-liquid (CTL) synthetic fuel process in order to create jobs and revive the American coal industry that has been stymied by harsh environmental and political constraints.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal is our most abundant natural resource. The recoverable U.S. coal reserve is equivalent in energy to 900 billion barrels of oil.  

The current price of a barrel of oil is roughly $52. However, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) maximum price per barrel of oil is predicted by The Economy Forecast Agency to be $86.40 by August 2019.  Also, WTI spot prices for oil have exceeded $100 per barrel in 24 monthly periods since March, 2008. 

The Princeton University researchers estimated the cost of producing the synthetic equivalent of a barrel of crude oil was $83.58 to $95.11. However, from the date of the article to now, the price of coal in two of our coal regions has dropped from approximately $60 per short ton to $40 per short ton. Therefore, a reduced cost of coal should decrease the cost of producing synthetic fuel. 

Many environmental advocates have recognized that synthetic fuels have a much lower or even zero content of sulfur, heavy metals and other toxic and environmentally damaging impurities. Also, unlike many biofuels, synthetic fuels can be used in gasoline and diesel engines with no need for modifications.

Although there has been an interest in the Fischer-Tropsch CTL process in the U.S. in the past, it doesn’t appear to be in use in this country at this time. As far as I know, the only commercial Fischer-Tropsch CTL synthetic fuel production facility in the world is owned and operated by the South African company Susol.  However, China recognizes the advantages of the process and is now constructing several large CTL synthetic fuel production projects.

Environmental and political constraints, in addition to high construction costs, have prevented the construction of Fischer-Tropsch CTL synthetic fuel production facilities in our country. However, it is conceivable public and private funding could be available to offset construction costs of such facilities if our political leaders favor the use of coal in synthetic fuel production. 

Since the Fischer-Tropsch CTL process requires heat in the range of a few hundred degrees Celsius, perhaps emission-free small modular reactors could serve as the heat source for future Fischer-Tropsch CTL synthetic fuel processing facilities.       

Since even before the American Industrial Revolution coal has played a vital role in fulfilling the energy needs of our nation. It deserves the chance to continue to prove its worth to our nation by serving as the principal feedstock for synthetic fuel production.


The Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy also promotes a similar approach via its Energy Defense Reservations (EDR) and Converting CO2 Into Gasoline

Fischer-Tropsch Coal to Liquid

Coal Can Offset Fuel Losses Caused by Hurricanes

Clint Crackel

Clinton E. Crackel
Co-founder and Co-chairman
Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition

According to the Energy Information Administration, over 45% of our refinery capacity, 51% of our natural gas processing and 17% of our crude oil production are in the Gulf of Mexico region.

Hurricane Harvey's impact on the Gulf of Mexico rendered approximately 25% of our refineries inoperable for a short period of time. This equates to a loss of approximately 2.2 million barrels of crude oil being refined per day. In addition, Hurricane Nate caused a curtailment of 92% of our oil output and 77% of natural gas production operations in the Gulf.

The loss of so much refining capacity and oil extraction, even for a short period of time, can lead to a dramatic shortage in our nation’s petroleum fuel supply. Such shortages can and will lead to considerable price spikes in jet fuel, gasoline and diesel fuel. In one instance, due to Hurricane Harvey, the price of a gallon of gasoline was reported to be $6.99 at one gas station in Arlington, Texas.

The refineries and drilling operations are highly susceptible to damage and prolonged shutdown due to hurricanes. Yet we have no source of alternative fuel for internal combustion engines available unless vehicles are modified to run on such fuels as hydrogen, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the form of propane, compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG).

It costs approximately $10,000 for a simple conversion of a light vehicle to burn hydrogen, and from $6,500 for a basic system to $12,000 for a top-of-the line system to convert a light vehicle to burn CNG, LNG or LPG (Propane): $6,500 for a basic system to $12,000 for a top-of-the-line system. I'm sure the costs are inherently more for larger vehicles.

The Fischer-Tropsch coal to liquid (CTL) synthetic fuel process converts coal to a liquid form similar to crude oil, and it can be refined to produce jet fuel, gasoline and diesel fuel. This synthetic fuel can be used in internal combustion engines without having to pay the exorbitant costs to modify a vehicle to burn other types of fuel.

Adopting the Fischer-Tropsch CTL synthetic fuel process on a wide scale in the United States would generate thousands of jobs in the coal mining and fuel production industries, including new plant construction. It would also ensure an uninterruptible supply of fuel for use in internal combustion engines is available because the Fischer-Tropsch CTL synthetic fuel plants would be located further inland, away from areas most susceptible to the destructive effects of hurricanes.

Due to its inherent compatibility with petroleum based fuels and relative safety of processing locations, the Fischer-Tropsch CTL synthetic fuel process should be incorporated as a vital
component of our national energy mix.

The Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy also promotes a similar approach via its Energy Defense Reservations (EDR) and Converting CO2 Into Gasoline

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Data On Spent Nuclear Fuel in the USA

graph of spent nuclear fuel discharged and stored at U.S. nuclear reactors since 1968, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form GC-859Nuclear Fuel Data Survey

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released data from its Nuclear Fuel Data Survey on the amount, type, and characteristics of spent nuclear fuel once it is discharged from a reactor. As nuclear electricity generation has continued to increase, the inventory of discharged spent fuel from nuclear reactors has grown steadily since the 1970s.
The latest Nuclear Fuel Data Survey data show that a total of 241,468 fuel assemblies, with an initial loading weight of about 70,000 metric tons of uranium (MTU), were discharged from and stored at 118 commercial nuclear reactors operating in the United States from 1968 through June 2013. Illinois, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina have the highest amount of stored nuclear material, with more than 4,000 MTU in each state.
Nuclear reactors are fueled by fissionable material, most commonly uranium, that has been enriched and formed into fuel rods. These rods are bundled together to form fuel assemblies, which are loaded into the reactor core and irradiated. These assemblies are used in the reactors for multiple cycles, with each cycle typically lasting between 18 and 24 months. After being irradiated, the spent fuel assemblies are highly radioactive and must be properly stored.
There are two storage methods used for spent fuel: spent fuel pools and dry cask storage. The spent-fuel-pool approach involves storing spent fuel assemblies in large pools of water that cool the assemblies and provideshielding from the radiation. Dry cask storage allows spent fuel already cooled in a spent fuel pool for several years to be stored inside a container, called a cask, filled with inert gas. Each cask is surrounded by steel, concrete, or other material to provide shielding from radiation. All spent fuel storage is regulated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Approximately two-thirds of total spent nuclear fuel is from pressurized-water reactors, and about one-third is fromboiling-water reactors. In the United States, nearly all spent nuclear fuel is currently stored on-site at commercial nuclear power plants. A very small amount, less than 1%, has been shipped to away-from-reactor, off-site facilities.
map of commercial spent nuclear fuel in storage by state, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form GC-859, Nuclear Fuel Data Survey
Note: Includes discharges stored at commercial sites only

Friday, December 4, 2015

Senator Obama Wrote to NFRC Co-Chair in 2007 Re Nuclear Power



Sent: 4/7/2007 7:05:55 P.M. Central Daylight Time

Subj: Message from Senator Barack Obama

Dear Clinton:

Thank you for your letter regarding your support of greater utilization of nuclear power. I was interested in your perspective.

I appreciate the environmental argument you make for nuclear energy. While the threat of nuclear accidents and the dumping of spent nuclear material have serious environmental implications, nuclear power is one of the few emissions-free energy sources available to us. I also noted your concern that any of our more common energy sources do not have the longevity of alternative fuels and will eventually run out, and agree that this consideration should weigh heavily in our debate over energy policy.

I am open to the use of nuclear power production as a transition to new energy technologies, but I think answers to a variety of safety questions, such as how we are going to transport and dispose of nuclear waste safely, are required before we seriously consider initiating an expansion of nuclear power capacity. Also, I am concerned about national security concerns when it comes to nuclear power, particularly in regards to spent nuclear fuel rods, which are periodically removed from reactors and can be used to produce weapons. These concerns led me to pass a provision in the Environment and Public Works Committee in the 109th Congress that requires the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to track unaccounted-for spent nuclear fuel rods used at power plants in the United States.

Again, thank you for relaying your views on national energy policy. Please stay in touch in the days ahead.


Barack Obama
United States Senator

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fitch Report Says Hazy Future for Nuclear Power

According to Fitch Ratings, cost and retirement of some plants will likely keep a cap on U.S. nuclear development into the mid term.   Last year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecast that nuclear generation will drop by approximately 10,800 MWe by 2020 on the low cost of natural gas and an expected lack of growth in electricity demand. Fitch believes this number could grow if more plant operators find upgrades and local political pressure too costly to continue operations. 

The total cost to complete the Vogtle nuclear power plant expansion has risen to approximately $17 billion. Similarly, construction costs for the new units at the V.C. Summer plant have risen to approximately $12.4 billion. Both projects are approximately three years behind schedule. They are using a modular construction technique and technology developed by Westinghouse, the AP1000 PWR, which was designed to be less costly and faster. Four AP 1,000 reactors under construction in China have also experienced cost overruns and delays. In our view, the change in expectations about this technique could join other forces in keeping expansion down. 

These pressures shut Dominion Resources' Kewaunee plant, Duke Energy Corp.'s Crystal River plant, Edison International's San Onofre plant, and Entergy's Vermont Yankee plant. Exelon's Oyster Creek is scheduled for retirement in 2019. Approximately eight additional merchant units, with an aggregate capacity of 6,334 MW, are also at risk of early retirement. 

By comparison only five new units are currently under construction and a license has been issued for one other, according to a report published last month by the Nuclear Energy Institute. Although a further 10 units are under active Nuclear Regulatory Commission review, their status remains uncertain. Plant age could also play a role in preserving current generation. Of the 99 nuclear units in operation, 73 have received 20-year license extensions beyond their original 40-year operating licenses. An additional 19 applications for license extension are pending and the remaining units are likely to be filed over the next several years.  (Fitch Ratings, 8/20/2015)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Letter from NFRC Co-Chair to Chair of NARUC

Clinton Crackle
NOTE: The California Energy Commission also published the letter:
Dear Clinton Crackel,
The following Comment that you submitted to the California Energy Commission (Docket Number 15-IEPR-12) has now been approved:


Dear Commissioner White: 
Having read your May 14, 2015 article in The Hill web site “Our nuclear waste program does need reform,” I agree with you that our nuclear waste program does need reform. I even posted the article in the discussions page of the Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition’s LinkedIn group because the coalition, formed in 2002, promotes spent nuclear fuel reprocessing and the creation of an autonomous federal agency to manage our civilian nuclear waste program. 
Throughout my nearly 10 years in the commercial nuclear power industry, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) utilized a stringent regulatory compliance and inspection program known as the Systematic Assessment of Licensee Performance (SALP) program. 

In 1994, the Nuclear Energy Institute was formed as the principal industry voice for nuclear utility deregulation. In 1998, the SALP program was replaced by a more industry-friendly inspection and enforcement program because it was seen as too costly to allow commercial nuclear power plants to compete in a deregulated electric utility environment. 

“The electric industry's move away from traditional rate-based regulation toward increased competition in a deregulated marketplace could have adverse impacts on the long-term ability of some utilities to adequately finance safe operation and decommissioning of their nuclear power plants.”  (NRC Fact Sheet on the Effects of Electric Utility Deregulation, November 2004) 

The State of California is currently involved with the interim, on-site dry cask storage of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and decommissioning of Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s Units 2 and 3. Other states are coping with the same issues affecting nuclear power plants within their borders that are now shut down for decommissioning or will soon be shut down. 
The owners of these plants will likely seek financial incentives from the host states in order to finance decommissioning activities; not to mention financial incentives for making the nuclear power plants more competitive with natural gas. 
The considerable additional financial burden to support these requests will most likely come at the expense of the utility ratepayers and taxpayers. 

Regardless of the source(s) of funding for decommissioning activities, we still don’t have a federal-level program available for the receipt and centralized storage of commercial SNF. 

read the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2015S. 854, 114th Cong. (2015). The bill is based in great part on the recommendations made by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, and is intended to finally insure federal-level SNF management is implemented in a timely manner. 

The Senate bill creates an independent federal agency called the Nuclear Waste Administration, headed by an Administrator appointed by the President of the United States and subject to Senate confirmation. The bill creates a five-member Nuclear Waste Oversight Board to meet at least every 90 days to review the status of the Administration. The bill also creates the Nuclear Waste Administration Working Capital Fund which is separate from the Nuclear Waste Fund, with the Nuclear Waste Administration Working Capital Fund directly financing the operations of the Administration while the Nuclear Waste Fund is still under the jurisdiction of Congress. 

I have attached the latest version of the Nuclear Waste Management Agency Act that I wrote in 2013 to create the United States Nuclear Waste Management Agency, a concept that I have been proposing since 1997. The bill is also posted in the Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition’s blog spot at 

Besides naming the agency, my bill creates a Board of Governors comprised of representatives of various nuclear energy stakeholders appointed by the President of the United States. 

The title of chief executive of the new agency would be Executive Director, with this individual being selected by the Board of Governors and with Senate concurrenceMy proposal establishes greater stability in the executive ranks by insulating the chief executive from changing political views of nuclear power and waste by succeeding administrations. 

I hope that you and the other members of the Subcommittee on Nuclear Issues-Waste Disposal will review my bill and submit any comments on it to me. The subcommittee is also welcome to discuss other nuclear waste issues with me. Further, my resume is attached to give you a better understanding of my background in the nuclear industry. 

Thank you and my best wishes for your continued success as Chair of NARUC’s Subcommittee on Nuclear Issues-Waste Disposal. 

Very respectfully, 

Clinton E. Crackel, MEP, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman 
Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition 
603 Graham Road 
North Aurora, IL 60542-9119 
(630) 202-1307