Argument: Underground nuclear waste storage far safer than status quo

Issue Report: Underground nuclear waste storage


Sandra Upson. “Finland’s Nuclear Waste Solution.” IEEE Spectrum. December 2009: “More than 50 years after the first commercial nuclear power plants went operational in the United Kingdo m and the United States, the world’s 270,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel remain in limbo. After it gets swapped out of a reactor, utilities put it in specially designed pools, where chilled, circulating water absorbs the initial heat and radioactivity. After about five or six years, the fuel has cooled considerably, enabling utilities with limited pool space to load it into huge, million-dollar steel casks that are left to sit on concrete pads within guarded compounds. The arrangement is far from ideal. The waste will emit harmful levels of radioactivity for thousands of years to come, and the casks are expected to last for a couple of hundred years, at most. The lack of a more permanent option is one of the biggest problems facing the global nuclear-power industry, which has been stalled for decades. But concerns about climate change have revived the prospects for nuclear power’s future growth, daring the industry to hope for a rebirth.”

The EU’s Energy Commission report in November of 2010: “Without EU action there is an increasing risk of a negative environmental impact over time. Geological disposal is the only end-point option that is being actively pursued.”[1]