What to do with United States' nuclear trash?
Most of the United States' spent nuclear fuel is stored at nuclear power plants in pools, or in steel-lined casks like these.
April 5th, 2011
08:35 PM ET

What to do with United States' nuclear trash?

Japan's crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where the exposure of spent nuclear fuel has contributed to radiation problems there, has highlighted a challenge with nuclear waste: Spent nuclear fuel is never really spent. It remains radioactive and potentially dangerous.

The Japan incident has American politicians advocating to move the United States' nuclear waste, often stored in pools and casks on the grounds of nuclear power plants, away from highly populated areas. And it exposes the fact that the country hasn't come up with a more permanent storage solution.

"Basically, we right now do not really have a long-term strategy" for nuclear waste storage, said UCLA professor Albert Carnesale.

So, what is to be done with the country's 70,000 tons of commercial spent nuclear fuel and the 3,000 additional tons per year that the nation will produce? In 2002, Congress approved Nevada's Yucca Mountain as a site where nuclear fuel would be stored. But after taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama told the Energy Department not to use it.

Obama then created the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. The panel, with 15 experts including Carnesale, is studying what to do with spent nuclear fuel.

Click the audio player to hear the rest of the story from CNN Radio's Jim Roope:

You can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports podcast on itunes or subscribe to the podcast here.

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Filed under: Energy • Nuclear
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Joey

    "Technologies or lack thereof?"
    We lack a time-travel machine: occasionally mankind takes a giant step that cannot be reversed.

    April 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy

    @Philip: read post #130 & 131. And I'm in a rather silly mood today! 😉

    April 6, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John N. Florida

    The French don't have this problem with their nukes. What are we doing different that resulted in this pile of trash?

    April 6, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dolly O.

    Good afternoon y'all.. 😉 ¶Regarding headline..fathomless.

    April 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Philip

    @banasy...I'd already read them(132,2 and was still scratching my head. I'm in a dummy mood today. (ya been nippin somma that mulled wine have ya?)

    April 6, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Philip

    Joey, mankinds greatest invention is still the wheel. agree? @raven...I see you there. 🙂 Are there any nuke plants up north?

    April 6, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz

      That u on WEDNESDAY'S LIVE blog that interrupted me and lucifer ? if thanks for stopping a friendship. BYEEEEEEEE

      April 6, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jazzzzzzzz


    April 6, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joey

    Jazzzzzz, banasy, Philip, et al: buona sera!
    The wheel, Philip?
    I'm new here, and already getting questions about how stupid I think I am.
    This is so Fun–and so are carnival rides. I can tell you from experience that you can break your neck on a concert stage.
    Hello my friends, hello my foes.

    April 6, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey

    Am I too late? All in bed?

    April 6, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BigR

    Hey Mr President Obama. Rather than store that fuel in Nevada, lets just leave it sitting in those big tanks. What a great target they could be. Just think what damage one little missile could do.

    April 7, 2011 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
    • seppe

      Dear sir BigR,that was a verry stupid think to do,if the enemy din't know now they do,why can you sujest a solution instead?

      April 7, 2011 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. seppe

    Send all the anuclear residuals in to space to the infinity of space!it is that simple

    April 7, 2011 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. spanglish

    Dump it in California the trash state of US,where all evil come from...

    April 7, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. YoPaulie

    We could put them in rockets and blast them off into orbit and have them come down over the Middle East and Asia (the areas that hate America, which is pretty much everywhere) and when asked to explain, just say "Oooops" and hang up the phone.

    April 7, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. Coriolana

    Dump it in the WI capitol.

    April 7, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
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