Radioactive waste. management and. contaminated site. clean-up

The decommissioning of nuclear power stations and their related facilities, as well as the clean-up of sites contaminated by radionuclides from acci­dents and nuclear weapons programs, are international issues. The remedia­tion of sites at Chernobyl and Fukushima have required and will continue to require decades of effort and billions of dollars. At the center of all of these issues, however, is the storage, transportation and disposal of radioac­tive waste generated at the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle. Inaction is not an option because we should not leave a legacy of used fuel, high-level waste and contaminated sites to future generations. Indeed, a failure to solve the nuclear waste problem limits the potential of nuclear power to play a role as a major energy producing system, one that does not produce any significant quantity of greenhouse gases.

Many countries with large volumes of nuclear waste from civilian power production and waste from military programs have started cleaning up contaminated sites and have made significant progress in the design and construction of repositories for permanent disposal of these high-activity wastes. However, progress in other countries has been slow, notably Japan where local opposition has largely halted their waste programs and in the United States, where the demise of Yucca Mountain as a geologic repository for high-level waste and spent nuclear fuel has left the United States without a clear path to the solution of this vexing technical and political problem. The recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future have essentially taken the U. S. program back to the first steps of the site selection process.

This volume, edited by three eminent international authorities, is a timely contribution that emphasizes the global nature of the problem. It features contributed chapters by experts from most countries with nuclear programs.

Most importantly, this book highlights the opportunities for good science and engineering that can be applied to some very difficult and complex problems, opportunities that we must address if we are to solve the nuclear waste problems created at the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle.

Professor Rodney C. Ewing Edward H. Kraus Distinguished University Professor

University of Michigan

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