Why Technical Solutions are Insufficient

The Abiding Conundrum of Nuclear Waste
  • M. V. RamanaEmail author
Part of the Energiepolitik und Klimaschutz. Energy Policy and Climate Protection book series (EPKS)


Nuclear waste has some difficult properties and the growing stockpiles of nuclear waste are hazardous to human health for hundreds of thousands of years. While engineers and scientists have posited various methods, in particular geological repositories, to deal with this long-lived hazard, none of these offer credible assurance that future generations will not be exposed to radioactive materials. This chapter describes the technical aspects of nuclear waste and the methods used to manage these wastes in many countries, and the uncertainties involved in projecting how these radioactive materials will behave in repositories over hundreds of thousands of years. The chapter also offers an overview of public opposition to such repositories and other nuclear facilities, and its underlying causes. Finally, it emphasizes the relationship between the technical and the social dimensions of the nuclear waste problem, and why these make the problem so hard to resolve.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Liu Institute for Global Issues, School of Public Policy and Global IssuesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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