Nuclear Energy's Dilemma:

Disposing of Hazardous Radioactive Waste Safely

EMD-77-41: Published: Sep 9, 1977. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 1977.

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The unsolved problem of radioactive waste disposal threatens the future of nuclear power in the United States. Nuclear critics, the public, business leaders, and government officials concur that a solution to the disposal problem is critical to the continued growth of nuclear energy. The Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) has begun a program to demonstrate, by the mid-1980's, the feasibility and safety of placing radioactive wastes in deep geological formations.

Nearly all operations that produce or use nuclear materials generate radioactive waste. Locations must be found to isolate these wastes and their harmful environmental effects.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should amend the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 to provide for: (1) independent assessments of ERDA facilities intended for the temporary storage and/or long-term storage or disposal of commercial and its own transuranic contaminated waste; (2) the temporary storage of ERDA high-level waste; and (3) the temporary storage and/or long-term disposal of commercial spent fuel. The Administrator, ERDA, should proceed to reevaluate the impact that spent fuel storage and/or disposal will have on its commercial repository program and reconsider the need for six high-level waste repositories in view of disposal requirements through the year 2000. The Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should proceed on a priority basis to complete its waste repository licensing procedures and proceed on a priority basis to include criteria for the storage or disposal of spent fuel.


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