DOE Issues New “Strategy” for Nuclear Waste Management and Disposal

On January 11, 2013, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) issued its response to the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future regarding next steps for spent nuclear fuel management and disposal in the United States. As expected, the DOE “strategy” sets out “broad steps” to be taken in the future, rather than near-term actions. Indeed, most of DOE’s recommendations will require new legislation prior to implementation.

According to the DOE report, the Administration now plans, within the next 10 years, to build the capability to begin addressing the federal government’s commitment to dispose of waste. This reflects a fifty-year delay from the original plan: the Nuclear Waste Policy Act requires that DOE accept used nuclear fuel beginning in 1998. The new goal is to have a permanent repository operating by 2048.

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