How Should We Deal With Nuclear Waste?
from The Wall Street Journal,

High-level nuclear waste has been piling up in the U.S. for decades, and we still have no permanent home for it.

Policy makers have been wrestling with the issue since at least 1982, when Congress mandated that waste be stored deep underground. In 1987, lawmakers chose Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a permanent repository; while it was being built, utilities simply stored spent fuel inside cooling pools at nuclear-reactor sites, while paying the government to permanently dispose of the waste.

But billions of dollars and decades later, the U.S. is back to square one. Nevada wasn't happy hosting the nation's nuclear-waste dump, and the Obama administration formally pulled the plug on Yucca Mountain in 2010.

We asked Jack Spencer, senior research fellow for nuclear-energy policy at the Heritage Foundation, Edwin Lyman, senior scientist in the global security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Richard K. Lester, head of the department of nuclear science and engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to weigh in on the issue. Here are edited excerpts:

The Department of Energy's latest plan for nuclear waste calls for an interim storage facility by 2025 and a deep, Yucca Mountain-style facility by 2050. Does this plan answer once and for all the question of what to do with spent nuclear fuel?

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