Right now, all of the nuclear waste that a power plant generates in its entire lifetime is stored on-site in dry casks. A permanent disposal site for used nuclear fuel has been planned for Yucca Mountain, Nevada, since 1987, but political issues keep it from becoming a reality.
Where is the best place to store nuclear waste?
In the US, government officials have proposed storing the country’s waste in a repository beneath Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The site lies about 300 m below ground level and 300 m above the water table. But the Yucca Mountain site has gone in and out of favor with changes in the US’s leadership.
How is nuclear energy waste stored?
The concrete and steel pool and the water shield workers from radioactivity. When cool enough that it no longer needs to be stored underwater—typically for 2 to 5 years after removal from the reactor—used fuel is transferred and stored in dry casks, which are large steel-reinforced concrete containers.
Can we send nuclear waste into space?
Launching all the nuclear waste on Earth into space is a very dangerous task, and it is not economically feasible, especially now that we have more cost-effective methods to deal with nuclear waste.
Is there any use for nuclear waste?
That’s right! Used nuclear fuel can be recycled to make new fuel and byproducts. More than 90% of its potential energy still remains in the fuel, even after five years of operation in a reactor. The United States does not currently recycle used nuclear fuel but foreign countries, such as France, do.