Nuclear waste management has loomed over energy policy debates for decades. The federal government has designated Yucca Mountain as the sole site to be considered for permanent disposal, and unsuccessfully attempted to railroad the construction of a repository there. But in all that time, a decentralized and informal system for managing nuclear spent fuel has emerged. What’s needed now is to abandon the failed, top-down nuclear waste framework in favor of a new policy agenda built on decentralization, consent, and innovation.
In a new Breakthrough report, we propose a set of pragmatic policy measures to ensure a sustainable future for nuclear in the United States. We draw on historical American experience, international comparisons, and emerging technological innovations to create a set of options for nuclear waste policy that aligns the interests of communities, governments, industry, and environmental advocates. Our proposed solutions include:
The future of nuclear power in the United States depends on the future of nuclear waste management. Here's our take on better waste management.
- Consent-based decentralized waste storage and disposal,
- reprocessing waste into fuel, reforming the international regime for waste, and
- pursuing innovative technological options for waste management.