The US along with other foreign entities have no long term viable solution to eliminate the nuclear waste. The protocol has been to bury the waste which sets the stage for a secondary ticking time bomb not to mention the environmental impacts to that region.
A typical nuclear power plant in a year generates 20 metric tons of used nuclear fuel. The nuclear industry generates a total of about 2,000 - 2,300 metric tons of used fuel per year. Over the past four decades, the entire industry has produced about 69,720 metric tons of used nuclear fuel.
The U.S. has 71,862 tons of the waste, according to state-by-state numbers obtained by The Associated Press. But the nation has no place to permanently store the material, which stays dangerous for tens of thousands of years. The U.S. nuclear industry says the waste is being stored safely at power-plant sites, though it has long pushed for a long-term storage facility. Meanwhile, the industry's collective pile of waste is growing by about 2,200 tons a year; experts say some of the pools in the United States contain four times the amount of spent fuel that they were designed to handle. For long-term storage, the government had looked to Yucca Mountain. It was designed to hold 77,160 tons – 69,444 tons designated for commercial waste and 7,716 for military waste. That means the current inventory already exceeds Yucca's original planned capacity. The U.S. has 104 operating nuclear reactors, situated on 65 sites in 31 states. There are another 15 permanently shut reactors that also house spent fuel.
Spent nuclear fuel is about 95 percent uranium. About 1 percent are other heavy elements such as curium, americium and plutonium- 239, best known as fuel for nuclear weapons. Each has an extremely long half-life – some take hundreds of thousands of years to lose all of their radioactive potency. The rest, about 4 percent, is a cocktail of byproducts of fission that break down over much shorter time periods, such as cesium-137 and strontium-90, which break down completely in about 300 years.
Cesium-137 is easily transported by air. It is cesium-137 that can still be detected in a New Jersey-sized patch of land around the Chernobyl reactor that exploded in the Ukraine in 1986.
The Temporary Solution Costs:
Customers have paid $24 billion into a fund Congress established in 1982 to pay for such storage. The charge – a penny for every 10 kilowatt-hours – would typically add up to about $11 a year for a household that received all its electricity from nuclear plants.
Radioactive Waste Streams:
An overview of waste classification for radioactive waste is a byproduct of nuclear weapons production, commercial power generation, and the naval reactor program. Waste byproducts also result from radioisotopes used for scientific, medical, and industrial purposes.
Transiting Nuclear Waste to Energy:
In nuclear fusion heat along with pressure provide the optimal environment to force two atoms together that would normally repulse each other. During this process a significant amount of energy is released. Experiments have been an ongoing research program at the national labs but still have not achieved absolute fusion; to be fair at least not for a extended time frame and efficiently. The company - 4th Dimension Energy - will provide the means by way of unique high energy laser. The initiative will be to not bury the current nuclear waste stockpile but to extract energy from the material while removing the immediate threat. The process provides alpha particles which allow a more efficient energy conversion method (electric current). 4th Dimension Energy technology leaves a by-product of pure helium no radioactive cleanup is associated with the technology.