De Facto disposal: The dumbest waste solution

March 15, 2024, 3:00PMRadwaste SolutionsMatthew Wald
The site of the Maine Yankee nuclear power plant, which was decommissioned in 2005. As with its sister plants Yankee Rowe and Connecticut Yankee, all that remains of the site is the plant ISFSI. Without a national waste management solution, spent fuel will continue to sit at sites such as these. (Photo: Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company)

After decades of false starts, U-turns, and stasis, the United States has arrived at a de facto solution for its high-level nuclear waste: Leave it in storage where it was produced, no matter how many tens of billions of dollars it costs, what impediments it raises for nuclear expansion, or what burdens it creates for the reuse of old reactor sites.

Dumb as it sounds, this is keeping all the major players happy. And it avoids alternative pathways, each of which has problems.

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