Recent efforts have been made toward the integration of the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle in the United States. The back-end integration seeks to address several management challenges: 1) current storage practices are not optimized for transport and disposal; 2) the impact of interim storage on the disposal strategy needs to be evaluated; and 3) the back-end is affected by—and affects—nuclear fuel cycle and energy policy choices. The back-end integration accounts for the various processes of nuclear waste management—onsite storage, consolidated storage, transport and geological disposal. Ideally, these processes should be fully coupled so that benefits and impacts can be assessed at the level of the full fuel cycle. The paper summarizes the causes and consequences of the absence of integration at the backend of the nuclear fuel cycle in the U.S., critically reviews ongoing integration efforts, and suggests a framework that would support the back-end integration.
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Diaz-Maurin, F., Ewing, R.C. Integration of the Back-end of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: An Overview. MRS Advances 5, 253–264 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1557/adv.2020.101