Quit producing uranium -- there's the fix!
|There are 60 commercially operating nuclear power plants with 100 nuclear reactors in 30 states in the United States. Of these plants, 36 have two or more reactors.|
Reprocessing does not reduce the need for storage and disposal of radioactive waste, and a geologic repository would still be required.
Commercial-scale reprocessing facilities handle so much of this material that it has proven impossible to keep track of it accurately in a timely manner, making it feasible that the theft of enough plutonium to build several bombs could go undetected for years.
A U.S. reprocessing program would add to the worldwide stockpile of separated and vulnerable civil plutonium that sits in storage today, which totaled roughly 250 metric tons as of the end of 2009—enough for some 30,000 nuclear weapons. Reprocessing the U.S. spent fuel generated to date would increase this by more than 500 metric tons.
Reprocessing would be very expensive.
Reprocessing and the use of plutonium as reactor fuel are also far more expensive than using uranium fuel and disposing of the spent fuel directly. In the United States, some 60,000 tons of nuclear waste have already been produced, and existing reactors add some 2,000 metric tons of spent fuel annually.