Monday, September 12, 2011

Hitting the "reset button" on nuclear waste management

In the first of many in a series of posts on "We Read It So You Don't Have To™," I recently reviewed the draft report of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Energy Future - i.e., the committee tasked by President Obama to devise an alternative path forward in light of the administration's decision to zero-fund the Yucca Mountain geologic repository.

Several nuclear bloggers offered (including yours truly) their thoughts on the draft summary of the BRC recommendations when they were posted back in May. Since that time, the release of the full draft report expands upon earlier BRC recommendations, which largely focused upon centralized interim storage for spent nuclear fuel until a new permanent geological repository can be sited.
While centralized interim storage remains at the heart of its recommendations, a major focus of the full report has been on the process of nuclear waste management policy, including issues of site selection, regulations, and access to funding. Concerns over spent fuel in light of Fukushima also permeate the full report, underscoring the need for an integrated fuel management strategy.

However, in particular, much of the report promotes hitting the "reset button" on nuclear waste management policy, turning the clock back to the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act, prior to the 1987 amendments which designated Yucca Mountain as the nation's sole geologic repository and the decades of scientific and engineering study which followed.

Read the whole summary exclusively at the ANS Nuclear Cafe.