James Conca, Geochemist: Yucca Mountain has always been political, from its initial choice to its recent death. The problem this time is that most of our high-level nuclear waste is no longer high-level. And most scientists agree we shouldn’t dispose of spent nuclear fuel until we reuse it in our new reactors that are designed to burn it. Besides, the highly-fractured, variably saturated, dual-porosity volcanic tuff at Yucca Mountain with highly oxidizing groundwater, was the wrong rock to begin with, causing the cost to skyrocket and the technical hurdles to keep mounting. Anti-nuclear activists have used Yucca Mt. to oppose the new generation of nuclear power plants by saying we have no place to put the waste. Unfortunately, everyone has focused on the political and legal aspects without understanding the science. And we know what happens when Human Law runs into Natural Law – Natural Law wins every time.
Fred Singer: The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 mandating the permanent underground disposal of spent fuel from civilian reactors, is known irreverently as the Nuclear-WPA - and for good reasons. NWPA may be the largest public-works program ever foisted onto the American public by Congress. Unlike cross-country canals, flood control and other water-management projects, there is not even a useful output here. Just $100 billion or so spent over 25 years, with people digging deep holes in the ground and other people filling them in.
James Conca, Forbes: Australia is thinking about building a deep geologic nuclear repository that would take nuclear waste from the whole world, or at least from those countries that have no viable option for their small amount of nuclear waste. If some country, like Australia, with many viable sites for a single deep geologic repository, decided to accept nuclear waste from these small-user countries, it would solve a global problem in a very cost-effective way. The storage and subsequent deep geologic disposal of the waste from the small-user nations is not difficult at all scientifically, technically or economically – only politically.
Craig Porter describes ways of safely and easily storing radioactive waste. Spent nuclear fuel that can be recycled and used in advanced nuclear reactors is worth trillions of dollars and should not be permanently disposed of in places where it can not be recovered.