America’s nuclear waste management program is at an impasse. The approach laid out under the 1987 Amendments to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA)—which tied the entire U.S. highlevel waste management program to the fate of the Yucca Mountain site—has not worked to produce a timely solution for dealing with the nation’s most hazardous radioactive materials. The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (the Commission) was chartered to recommend a new strategy for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. Doing nothing is not an option. Continued stalemate is costly—to utility ratepayers, to communities that have become unwilling hosts of long-term nuclear waste storage facilities, and to U.S. taxpayers who face mounting liabilities, already running into billions of dollars, as a result of the failure by both the executive and legislative branches to meet federal waste management commitments. The strategy that the BRC recommends has eight key elements:
1. A new, consent-based approach to siting future nuclear waste management facilities.
2. A new organization dedicated solely to implementing the waste management program and empowered with the authority and resources to succeed.
3. Access to the funds nuclear utility ratepayers are providing for the purpose of nuclear waste management.
4. Prompt efforts to develop one or more geologic disposal facilities.
5. Prompt efforts to develop one or more consolidated storage facilities.
6. Prompt efforts to prepare for the eventual large-scale transport of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste toconsolidated storage and disposal facilities when such
facilities become available.
7. Support for continued U.S. innovation in nuclear energy technology and for workforce development.
8. Active U.S. leadership in international efforts to address safety, waste management, non-proliferation, and security concerns.
The report also lists actions that can be taken without legislative action. The last chapter of the report (chapter 13) identifies a number of concrete next steps; and a text box on page ix of the Executive Summary lists several ways to get started on the specific task of siting new waste disposal and consolidated storage facilities.
For the complete report, please visit: http://www.brc.gov