Spent fuel at South Carolina’s four atomic power stations — in Oconee, Fairfield, Darlington and York counties — is stored in cooling pools in the ground or at ground level. Water circulates to prevent the used, highly radioactive fuel from overheating.
SCE&G’s spent fuel pool at its Fairfield County plant has backup systems to ensure water covers used fuel, officials said.
Company officials did not go into detail, but said the fuel is kept in a stainless steel pool surrounded by concrete. The pool is in a building and is submerged in the ground. About 25 feet of water lies between the fuel rods and the top of the tank, officials said.
“We have emergency . water supplies that would fill up the pool in the event that we were beginning to lose water in that pool,’’ said William Timmerman, chief executive at SCANA, the parent company of SCE&G.
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Company officials said reactors like the damaged ones in Japan generally have less water in them to cover spent fuel.
Duke Energy spokeswoman Rita Sipe said her utility’s pools are deep and seismically designed. She said the company could not get into details because the information is security-sensitive.