US Has 72K Tons of Still-Hot Nuclear Waste

Amount is growing every year, but there's still no long-term storage solution
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2011 3:14 PM CDT
US Has 72K Tons of Still-Hot Nuclear Waste
In this photo taken on on March 18, workers prepare to connect transmission lines to restore electric power to units 3 and 4 at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.   (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co. via Kyodo News)

(Newser) – The US may not have a Fukushima-like crisis on its hands, but it does have plenty of still-hot nuclear waste piling up at plants across the country—71,862 tons of it, to be precise, reports the AP. Most of the waste is stored in cooling pools similar to those at Fukushima, but capacity is full—in some cases, experts say there's four times as much waste as the pools were designed to handle.

Meanwhile, the amount of waste keeps growing at the nation's 104 operating reactors at a rate of 2,200 tons every year. And there's no long-term storage solution in sight. (Long term means just that: the waste is dangerous for tens of thousands of years.) Yucca Mountain in Nevada had once been a possible site, but those plans are now scrapped. Click for AP's full enterprise piece or here for concerns about radiation in Tokyo tap water. (Read more Fukushima Dai-ichi stories.)

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