Storage of nuclear wastes and of dead nuclear reactors is becoming a political nightmare
Beyond electricity production, the use of nuclear energy also creates
problems related to the storage of spent nuclear fuel and waste, which
brings an additional layer of complexity to the question. Storage of
nuclear fuel requires facilities in geological locations which must fulfil
There are only so many places which fulfil these
criteria. Furthermore, long-term fuel storage will create commitments (and
costs) for hundreds of years.
It is easy to imagine how nuclear waste
storage can easily turn into a political nightmare – one can look at the
options in Belgium where the neighboring Luxembourg quickly protested
against storage too close to the border between the two countries; or to
the United States where nuclear storage facilities are planned on
A new politics of waste is emerging – the power plants
themselves. As the IEA demands an urgent new round of investment in ageing
nuclear sites, what are we to do with the old ones? The UK newspaper the
Independent very recently ran a story about one such site, Douneray, in the
North of Scotland. It first opened in 1955 and ceased operations in 1994.
And yet, local campaign groups have never been as active. Why? As a 2020
report by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority puts it, the Douneray site
will be ready for other purposes in the year…2333. As old sites come to
an end, new politics of decommissioning begin.
PACCS research (accessed) 13th Aug 2022
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