Current Status of Nuclear Waste Management (and Disposal) in the United States

  • McMahon, K. (Sandia National Laboratories) ;
  • Swift, P. (Sandia National Laboratories) ;
  • Nutt, M. (Argonne National Laboratory) ;
  • Birkholzer, J. (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) ;
  • Boyle, W. (U.S. Department of Energy) ;
  • Gunter, T. (U.S. Department of Energy) ;
  • Larson, N. (U.S. Department of Energy) ;
  • MacKinnon, R. (Sandia National Laboratories) ;
  • Sorenson, K. (Sandia National Laboratories)
  • Received : 2013.07.25
  • Accepted : 2013.09.13
  • Published : 2013.10.30


The United States Department of Energy (US DOE) is conducting research and development (R&D) activities under the Used Fuel Disposition Campaign (UFDC) to support storage, transportation, and disposal of used nuclear fuel (UNF) and wastes generated by existing and future nuclear fuel cycles. R&D activities are ongoing at nine national laboratories, and are divided into storage, transportation and disposal. Storage R&D focuses on closing technical gaps related to extended storage of UNF. Transportation R&D focuses on ensuring transportability of UNF following extended storage, and addressing data gaps regarding nuclear fuel integrity, retrievability, and demonstration of subcriticality. Disposal R&D focuses on identifying geologic disposal options and addressing technical challenges for generic disposal concepts in mined repositories in salt, clay/shale, and granitic rocks, and deep borehole disposal. UFDC R&D goals include increasing confidence in the robustness of generic disposal concepts, reducing generic sources of uncertainty that may impact the viability of disposal concepts, and developing science and engineering tools to support the selection, characterization, and licensing of a repository. The US DOE has also initiated activities in the Nuclear Fuel Storage and Transportation (NFST) Planning Project to facilitate the development of an interim storage facility and to support transportation infrastructure in the near term.


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  3. DOE (United States Department of Energy). Strategy for the Management and Disposal of Used Nuclear Fuel and High -Level Radioactive Waste, (2013)
  4. Used Fuel Disposition Campaign. Used Nuclear Fuel Storage and Transportation Data Gap Prioritization, FCRD-USED-2012-000109 (2012)

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