Institutional aspects of waste disposal
From a technological viewpoint the disposal of radioactive waste is a difficult but manageable problem. Even for the worst part of the problem, the disposal of high-level waste, the steps leading to safe isolation seem straightforward. The purely mechanical operations required — the sinking of a shaft and excavation of a repository area, the enclosing of waste in canisters and movement of canisters into the repository, backfilling the repository and sealing the openings — can all be accomplished with known engineering techniques. Geological criteria for choosing repository sites are well established, and a number of places that satisfy these criteria have been found. Some questions remain about details, particularly with regard to predictions of repository performance over the long-term future, and some of the details require further study. Among scientists and engineers who are familiar with the problem there is fairly substantial agreement that the needed research is minor and can be accomplished as the construction of a repository proceeds. Why then, do we still delay? Why isn’t a repository for HLW already under construction?
KeywordsInternational Atomic Energy Agency Waste Disposal Radioactive Waste Nuclear Regulatory Commission Institutional Aspect
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