The first meetings involved almost all reactor operators and vendors in the nuclear industry in the United Sates. A full year was spent discussing options and using this field of talent to develop certain fixed practices that would guide PFS regardless of which entities finally formed the company. It was necessary to consider all options to ensure that this large number of resources was heard before ideas were dismissed. PFS was formed as a limited liability company in 1995 by eight of the nation’s utilities. These utilities owned about 20 nuclear-power-producing reactors. They included both for-profit companies and a co-operative.
The initial actions were to decide major principles upon which the effort to centrally store spent fuel on an interim basis would be developed. They included site selection criteria, type of storage, cask orientation, and methods of shipment.
This process was built on a failed endeavor by the U.S. government called the Voluntary Host Program. The program would have rewarded communities for being willing to host a temporary surface repository. Congress cancelled it for political reasons. The concept was to do a widespread search of possible sites and consider the positives and negatives in each individual case in light of the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act, which requires a thorough review of all aspects of any major activity. This includes a consideration of alternatives for siting and for the action itself such as leaving spent fuel scattered at 70-plus locations throughout the United States. This evaluation, completed before the events of September 11, 2001, created a need for additional protection of hazardous substances. The alternate-sites review initially looked at over 40 initial potential hosts. Consideration was given to the total transportation mileage to the ultimate repository, the population density of the area, the ability of the governmental entity to represent its population, the proximity to groundwater, and the proximity to surface water. The availability of mainline rail transportation was also a major consideration.
The number of potential sites was reduced by a series of reviews, visits, and analysis until four final candidates remained. An engineering evaluation was performed to determine the best site, and a location on the reservation of the Skull Valley Band of the Goshute people in Utah was selected. The sites were all voluntary, and owners or governments were actively involved at each location. Once the site was selected, the negotiation process was started with the host location and included fixed and variable payments and employment preference for those fully qualified. The members of the host community voted on the project. The lease was signed and submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs of