Scenarios depict possible nuclear waste futures.
Nuclear-waste management is a multi-billion dollar problem, and the future of nuclear power will depend on its resolution. Four scenarios depict possible outcomes and impacts on the electric power industry.
Nuclear-waste management is a multi-billion dollar problem wrapped in a complex web of politics, public opinion and technology choices. Embracing a greater future role for nuclear energy requires, in part, resolving the perennially deferred problem of managing and ultimately disposing of the high-level waste (HLW) from this nation’s current and proposed nuclear power reactors.
Yucca Mountain, the Nevada site studied for over 30 years, was identified during the Reagan administration as the intended permanent repository for the disposal of United States HLW from nuclear reactors. However, various entities, including the state of Nevada, have sued the federal government with hopes of preventing the Yucca Mountain waste repository from ever opening, and other states have shown reluctance to allow transit of the nuclear waste, especially near populated centers.