Blog by Deep Isolation Staff, July 13, 2020

Temporary Nuclear Waste Storage Costs Keep Rising

In our fourth episode of Nuclear Waste: The Whole Story we delve deeper into the downside of not having a permanent storage solution for nuclear waste.

Our guest is James Taylor, General Manager of the environmental division of Bechtel’s Nuclear, Security and Environmental global business unit. Taylor talks about the long-term costs of the interim storage of nuclear waste.

James Taylor of Bechtel
James Taylor of Bechtel

According to an analysis by Deep Isolation, based on data from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Nuclear Association, more than half a million metric tons of high-level nuclear waste is temporarily stored at hundreds of sites worldwide. No country has yet implemented a disposal solution for spent commercial fuel.

Taylor explains the financial impacts of not having a permanent disposal solution for nuclear waste, pointing out that utility ratepayers and taxpayers are footing a bill that will continually amount to hundreds of millions of dollars annually until a solution is implemented. This isn’t just an issue in the United States: This is a global challenge impacting countries worldwide.

With most of the waste sitting in storage pools or above-ground dry storage facilities, interim storage has become a big business, costing $6 million to $8 million per year to manage these facilities. 

Taylor brings a business-insider perspective to this issue. In his leadership role at Bechtel, Taylor has general management responsibility for the management and operation of high-hazard nuclear and chemical cleanup sites, facility decommissioning, field remediation, project management services and nuclear material management, treatment and disposition. This work includes managing projects for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Environmental Management (EM) and the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). 

You can listen to this interview and others on our website or subscribe to the podcast series on your favorite player. Watch the videos on our YouTube playlist.

While Deep Isolation is producing this series, any opinions expressed by either the interviewers or their subjects are not necessarily representative of our official position.

Have a suggestion for a future podcast? Email us at podcast@deepisolation.com. Learn more at deepisolation.com/nuclear-waste-podcast.