The United States has 104 commercial nuclear reactors providing about 20% of the nation’s electricity, but throughout their lifetimes, they’ve accumulated about 58,000 tons of nuclear waste. They produce about 2,000 tons annually.
Although recent developments are promising, Yucca Mountain has been a political boondoggle for decades. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 set January 31, 1998, as the deadline for the federal government to begin receiving used fuel. The result has been billions of dollars in taxpayer liability. Furthermore, Yucca Mountain’s statutory limit has been set at 70,000 tons when, in fact, it could hold 120,000 tons or more. Yet, even with a 120,000 ton limit, if nuclear power production increased by 1.8 percent annually after 2010, Yucca would be full by 2030.
It’s clear reform is needed, but a number of questions need to be answered. Should the federal government remain responsible for waste management? Is privatization the right approach? Or is the best way forward some combination of both?
The Heritage Foundation will host an event Tuesday, June 24th at 9:30am to discuss these issues. The Department of Energy has requested that industry help to inform a decision on the potential path forward for technologies and facilities associated with domestic used fuel management. Industry responded with a number of recommendations including one to develop a new organizational approach to waste management. Furthermore, The Heritage Foundation will introduce its plan to completely privatize the management of used nuclear fuel.
The event is open to the public. Please RSVP here.