A Waste of Nuclear Know-How? | AREVA North America: Next Energy Blog


By Jarret Adams

An article in this week’s Science magazine, “Nuclear Waste: Knowledge Waste?” (subscription required) raises some very interesting questions about managing nuclear waste in the context of the nuclear renaissance now under way. Beyond recounting the history and current state of U.S. waste management (which should be well known to readers of this space), it focuses on the “often-overlooked” social science aspects of formulating a strategy for the future.

The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, according to its charter, was formed “to conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle.” The Science article offers some advice to those involved:

The Blue Ribbon Commission, the DOE, and other responsible agencies should make the rebuilding of social trust and credibility central to their operations and their proposed strategies for waste management, then draw on the social sciences needed to fulfill these commitments.

The authors state that the panel is well positioned to begin overcoming “the problematic legacy it inherited,” but cautions that it should consider not only the technical requirements, but also take into account the social issues relative to nuclear waste. It concludes:

The strategy adopted by the commission will affect not only how its recommendations are judged but also how the public should be involved in subsequent policy and siting decisions. Addressing relevant social issues does not guarantee success, but ignoring them increases the chances of repeating past failures.

In related news, ThomsonReuters published a timely article Aug. 17 focusing on the potential for recycling entitled “U.S. nuclear waste issue could be solved if…” In fact, this article quotes yours truly saying: “It’s a perfect time to reconsider recycling for the U.S.,” and I have to say I agree with me. The piece also features some good photos of AREVA’s La Hague recycling facility.

Click here for more information on AREVA’s vision for recycling nuclear fuel in the U.S.

Share TAGS: Blue Ribbon Commission, DOE, La Hague, Science

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