One Hundred Centuries of Solitude: Redirecting America's High-Level Nuclear Waste Policy

Synopsis

When Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, it directed the Department of Energy to locate, study, license, and develop a deep underground repository for high-level nuclear wastes. As the authors of this study show, by 1987 the program was in shambles, beset by opposition from every state that had a potential storage site. Congress passed amendments to the original legislation that designated Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as the only site for study and development. The authors trace the evolution of the political and social turmoil created by this difficult site-selection process, looking at the history of the nation's repository program, the nature of the public's concerns, and the effects of intergovernmental conflict. They also examine how other countries have addressed similar problems. Turning to a promising development- a dry-cask storage method judged by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to be safe for a century or more- they urge a full reassessment of the nation's high-level nuclear waste policies and of existing DOE programs. The book concludes with carefully considered recommendations for a new national policy for the storage of hazardous nuclear waste. Everyone concerned about nuclear waste and how it should be managed at the federal, state, and local levels will find valuable information in this in-depth study of the issues at hand.