DOE Announces New Timeline for Interim, Permanent Nuclear Waste Disposal

The Obama administration is preparing to present a new plan for spent nuclear fuel to Congress that envisions an interim storage site opened by 2025.

The proposal would implement ideas proposed last year by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, which recommended that spent fuel currently stored at power plants be moved to one or more temporary storage sites hosted by communities that want them. So far, groups in New Mexico and South Carolina have formed to advocate for construction of interim repositories in their states, while Idaho's state government has begun a review of its policies restricting nuclear waste shipments.

The Department of Energy's plan, as reported Friday by conservative website the Washington Guardian, calls for a pilot interim storage location by 2021. That would be followed by a full-scale interim storage facility by 2025. Although no further facilities are outlined in the plan, it also notes that multiple interim sites could be proposed in the future.

The plan sets a goal of 2048 to open a permanent geologic repository. For decades, Yucca Mountain at a nuclear weapons test range in Nevada was the favored location for such a facility, but the Obama administration halted that project in 2010. It was supposed to open in 1998, and since then spent fuel has continued to accumulate in dry casks at individual nuclear plants around the country.

Anonymous comments will be moderated. Join for free and post now!