The Trump administration last month revived controversial plans to bury the US’s growing stockpile of highly radioactive spent fuel from nuclear power plants and weapons factories in tunnels dug into Yucca mountain in Nevada. But, with local opposition to the plan axed by President Obama undimmed, scientists at the Department of Energy are already hedging their bets. They are pursuing an alternative scheme to drop the hot radioactive waste down hundreds of deep shafts across the US, where it can mix with molten granite in the Earth’s crust. Next month, they are expected to announce the site for the first test drilling. The US currently has some 79,000 tonnes of spent fuel in at least 76 power-station cooling ponds and secure dry stores across the country. Another 2000 tonnes are added each year. The stores contain an estimated 444,000 petabecquerels of radioactivity, which is some 50 times more than released from all atmospheric nuclear weapons tests.
New Scientist 7th April 2017 read more »