must address both interim short-term endpoints and final long-term end points. In doing so, safety, environmental impact, and proliferation concerns must be included.
Technologies exist for safe, secure, and sustainable storage of most SNF. These technologies are likely to be effective for several decades of storage and can be deployed in a range of locations and circumstances. Storage of liquid HLW over long periods of time is less reliable, and immobilization of liquid HLW into a form that can be safely, securely, and sustainably stored is preferable.
Geologic disposition has been considered the most promising option for disposal of high-level radioactive waste since at least 1957, when a report of the National Research Council concluded that “wastes may be disposed of safely at many sites,” suggested that “disposal in cavities mined in salt beds and salt domes” promises “the most practical immediate solution of the problem,” and noted that solidifying the waste into an insoluble form would simplify disposal (NRC 1957). A recent report by an international committee of the National Research Council concludes that geologic disposition is the only long-term end point that does not require continued management and resource expenditure (NRC 2001a). Worldwide, no engineered geologic repository for HLW has been designed and operated as yet, although the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in the United States is an operating geologic repository for long-lived transuranic waste.
These interim and final end points are necessary parts of any nuclear fuel cycle. At the same time that these end points are being implemented, improved, and developed, other actions are needed to support their effective deployment as part of Russia and the United States’ preferred fuel cycles.
Russia and the United States face many similar problems in managing SNF and HLW, but Russia is in a different stage of addressing its problems than is the United States. In both countries progress is being made in managing the radioactive waste problems, but the progress is slow and the hazard of radiation