The Long Term Storage of Radioactive Waste
Safety and Sustainability
In most countries, nuclear power generation and other applications of radioactive materials started before plans for the disposal of the resulting radioactive waste were well developed. As waste arose, it was most frequently stored in various types of engineered containment on the surface and at sites to which access was controlled. Research and development work on waste disposal has shown that, in principle, all types of radioactive waste can be disposed of in a manner that provides protection for the health and safety of people and the environment.
For high level and long lived radioactive waste, the consensus of the waste management experts internationally is that disposal in deep underground engineered facilities - geological disposal - is the best option that is currently available or likely to be available in the foreseeable future. This option is under investigation in most countries with significant amounts of such waste, and two countries have now made formal Government decisions to go ahead with facilities for the disposal of high level waste.
The IAEA has issued a report of international experts who reviewed the issue of long-term storage and disposal of radioactive waste. Read Full Report » [pdf]