Friday, February 19, 2010: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Room 11A (San Diego Convention Center)Each year the world's nuclear power reactors create enough spent fuel to fill a football field to a depth of 1.5 meters, with a weight of about 10,500 tons. The spent fuel is thermally hot and can stay radioactive for thousands of years. After irradiation in the power reactors, the fuel assemblies are typically stored in water pools or in dry casks on site at the nuclear reactors for many years. High Level Waste disposal is viewed by many as Nuclear Power’s Achilles Heel, and some people are even convinced it constitutes an insoluble problem. It is certainly a question about which the perception of the specialists, aware of the progress achieved in the last two decades, differs deeply from the perception of the public-at-large and the media. This Symposium attempts to bridge part of this gap by providing up-to-date information on the status of spent fuel treatment and disposal across the world. In this presentation, speakers from Europe and the United States will present the main options, from the direct and final disposal of the spent fuel elements, to the recycling strategy, which involves the reprocessing in large chemical plants, and the recovery and the re-use of the energy-producing elements uranium and plutonium. The merits of both strategies will be addressed and compared.
Didier Haas, European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC)
Gerald Epstein, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Phillip Finck, Nuclear Energy Idaho National Laboratory