US Nuclear Plants on Hold

The gauntlet has been thrown down. Until the US figures out what to do with nuclear waste, new nuclear plants can't be licensed and existing licenses can't be renewed.

The decision, taken by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on 8 August 2012, reflects the mounting pressure over nuclear waste storage, and is likely to rekindle doubts over the future of the nuclear industry.

US nuclear plants store spent fuel in pools (see Nuclear Waste Stored in Sydney) in the hope that a permanent geological repository becomes available. In June the US Court of Appeals ruled that the NRC needs a plan B in case the proposed repository in Nevada's Yucca Mountain, opposed by the Obama administration, never opens. But none of the options are attractive, says Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington DC.

New Scientist p5, 18 August 2012

contact: Bruce A. Peterson 740th access Last modified: Mon 17 Sep 2012