Publication Laka-library:
Management of spent fuel and radioactive waste: State of affairs: a worldwide Overview

AuthorH.Damveld, D.Bannink, WISE
DateMay 2012
Remarks Special issue of Nuclear Monitor

From the publication:

Management of spent fuel and radioactive waste
State of affairs. A worldwide overview
Herman Damveld
Dirk Bannink
Nuclear Monitor, May 2, 2012

„Taking into account the results already achieved,
the expected technological developments in the
coming years, and above all the existence of
a well-established basis for the assessment in
numerical terms of radiation hazards, the group
are convinced that the optimum development of
nuclear energy need not be impeded by radioactive
waste management problems which will have
to be dealt with".
This quote is from the OECD report „Radioactive
waste management practices in Western Europe".
It is not from the most recent report, although the
wording would be the same, but from a report in
Since the beginning of nuclear power the major
claim is that there will be a solution for nuclear
waste soon, that the waste problem really is not
a technical problem but a social problem, but,
anyway, we are near a solution. So there is no
reason to stop producing it or endanger the future
of nuclear energy.
But as the authors describe in this worldwide
overview, none of the roughly 34 countries with
spent fuel (reprocessed or not) from nuclear power
reactors have a final disposal facility, be it in deep
geological formations or (near) surface. A very
large majority of those countries are not even close.
Some postpone the need for final disposal by
long term interim storage of up to 100 years; and
other countries use (the future option of) reprocessing
as an alibi for postponing that decision.
As this worldwide overview of the state of affairs
shows, siting radioactive waste repositories is
seen as one of the main problems due to sociopolitical
circumstances. Almost without exception,
all radioactive waste management programs state
that this generation must solve its own problems
and not lay the burden of solving the waste
problem on the next generations. But those same
programs propose, again almost without exception,
to postpone a decision on final disposal and/
or reprocessing into the far-future, and consider
interim storage.
Fact is that the problem of final disposal of highlevel
radioactive waste and/or spent fuel has not
been solved, more than half a century after the
first commercial nuclear power plants entered into
operation and used fuel was unloaded from the
Although we briefly describe the storage and
disposal of low and intermediate level waste, the
focus of this report is clearly on spent (or 'used')
fuel from nuclear power plants. Waste from uranium
mining is not even mentioned. It is also not
about fuel from research reactors, which is mostly
returned to the country of origin.