A new research on the actions to be done about nuclear waste has been recently published in the science journal Nature. Their conclusions have been that the wastes should be disposed of safely and securely, so that they are unreachable by third parties who could build nuclear weapons.
Worldwide, about 500 metric tons of plutonium have to be stored somehow, “in a reasonable way.” The only conclusion that the group reached is that the plutonium should be encased in ceramic pucks and buried.
Another option would be to use the plutonium to create Mixed Oxide fuel (MOX) and use it for producing energy in nuclear fission plants. However, this option is too expensive to be worthwhile pursuing, while using fresh uranium is cheaper.
On the fact that the waste nuclear fuel has to be buried, everyone reached a consensus. Several countries like the U.S., France and Japan have been doing that for centuries, but it’s hard to reach a consensus on where that should be done. For example, the Yucca Mountains would be perfect in the case of the U.S., but the project has been canceled by President Obama in 2009.
The researchers’ opinions have been published for the purpose of sensitizing people in charge of such projects and to find the legal and practical procedures to do that safely and responsibly.