Scott A. Roecker
Vice President, Nuclear Materials Security
As global demand for nuclear energy grows, spent nuclear fuel accumulates at reactor sites, creating security, proliferation and safety concerns, in some cases, threatening growth of nuclear power.
To generate new solutions for spent fuel waste management and address broader fuel cycle concerns in the United States and internationally.
A new network of nuclear fuel cycle experts in the Pacific Rim is exploring collaborative approaches to spent fuel management, to provide practical solutions, and to build trust and shared understanding.
More than 270,000 metric tons of commercial spent nuclear fuel is held in storage worldwide, most at reactor sites. Political and technical difficulties have delayed and in many cases, prevented the construction and operation of geologic repositories to dispose of this material. Failure to manage this problem threatens national, regional and international security, exacerbates nonproliferation risks, strains the credibility of the nuclear community, undercuts public and political acceptance for all nuclear activities, and impacts serious efforts to address climate change.
In 2013, NTI launched the Developing Spent Fuel Strategies project with generous funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (as well as the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation during 2013 and 2014. Drawing on three international workshops (Paris 2013, Taipei 2014, Singapore 2015), NTI’s work to strengthen global approaches to nuclear materials management, the work of the NTI-CSIS expert group New Approaches to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle, and recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (BRC), the project has created a network of nuclear fuel cycle experts in the Pacific Rim to develop solutions to shared spent fuel management problems and explore ways to address broader fuel cycle concerns.
Efforts to develop sustainable solutions for the long- term management of HLW have been ongoing for decades, and most programs around the world have experienced both successes and failures.