Nuclear Waste Report Calls for Interim Storage, New Approach on Repository

The first full report by a presidential commission on how to deal with nuclear waste has, as predicted, called for interim storage of nuclear waste off site from nuclear power plants, and for creating a new corporation to develop one or more deep geological repositories "as expeditiously as possible." However, current stores of waste held on site do not now represent a danger to the public or the environment, the report says. Robust investments in research are needed to improve the situation, it finds.

The Energy Department, which ordered up the study, says it will review the report. Meanwhile, House of Representatives lawmaker James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), vice chair of the House science committee, blasted the report:

The Blue Ribbon Commission has offered various proposals to fix a problem we don't have. The Draft Report states that the 'American nuclear waste management program is at an impasse.' We would not have this impasse but for the president's politically-motivated decision to close Yucca Mountain.

Bulletpoints from the report's text summarizing the main points:

The strategy we recommend in this draft report has seven key elements:

1. A new, consent-based approach to siting future nuclear waste management facilities.

2. A new organization dedicated solely to implementing the waste management program and empowered with the authority and resources to succeed.

3. Access to the funds nuclear utility ratepayers are providing for the purpose of nuclear waste management.

4. Prompt efforts to develop one or more geologic disposal facilities.

5. Prompt efforts to develop one or more consolidated interim storage facilities.

6. Support for continued U.S. innovation in nuclear energy technology and for workforce development.

7. Active U.S. leadership in international efforts to address safety, waste management, nonproliferation, and security concerns.