Nuclear Waste Disposal: A Technical Problem in Search of a Political Solution

  • Andrew Blowers


Radioactive waste management in the UK is in disarray. In addition to the wastes already accumulated from power generation and reprocessing there is shortly to be added a growing volume of decommissioning wastes as one by one the early power stations are shut down and made obsolete or surplus military equipment (submarines, warheads) is dismantled. The opening of THORP will add large volumes of intermediate (ILW) and low level waste (LLW) from both domestic and foreign spent fuel. There is at present no long term disposal route available for the intermediate and high level (HLW) wastes, the bulk of which remain in various states of conditioning in different waste streams. As the wastes have accumulated, the uncertainty about what to do with them has increased. There is a lack of technical consensus over the most appropriate method of managing the wastes. Reprocessing and nuclear wastes have become inextricably entwined as issues of intense political conflict. One by one the options for the management of radioactive wastes have been abandoned in the face of intense political opposition. Only the proposed NIREX deep repository for ILW/LLW at Sellafield remains a practical prospect, but both technical and political issues make its timing and even its existence uncertain. Radioactive waste management is a technical problem in search of a political solution.


Radioactive Waste Nuclear Waste Spend Fuel Nuclear Industry Nuclear Facility 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1995

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  • Andrew Blowers

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