Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management
Skip the many layers of the DOE website and come here for government and
legislative information about waste storage and transportation. Congressional
testimony and speeches from DOE program officers are available in full-text,
along with current events in the world of waste management. In the resources
section legal buffs can read the full text of 100 waste management bills under
consideration by Congress plus the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. Anyone
who's looking for some basic information will be frustrated by the bureaucratic
feel of the text. Information of wide interest is buried under main headings.
Dig under Waste Acceptance, Storage, and Transportation to find two useful
sections on how spent fuel is stored in the U.S. (with photos): Storage and
Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel, and Transportation of Spent Nuclear Fuel.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
The oversight organization for America's nuclear power industry is
apparently quite happy to share their internal reports with the public. For a
little intrigue, visit the Reactors section where you can read daily reports
from plants around the country including various mishaps, like a potential
contaminated employee and valve and pump break-downs. Maybe it will either
scare you into thinking nuclear power is too complex for humans, or reassure
you that the myriad of regulatory mechanisms is working well...? The NRC also
shares its "Plant Watchlist" with the public, a compilation of power plants
that make the agency nervous. For basic information on individual reactors
(location, size, age, etc.) go to www.nrc.gov/AEOD/pib/states.html.
What to do with all our nuclear waste? The Yucca Mountain, Nevada, repository
looks like it might be the final resting place for American spent reactor fuel.
For a basic overview of this mega-project, read the EPA's fact sheet
. Here you can also download the National
Academy of Sciences summary on safety standards, albeit in WordPerfect. For a
virtual photo album of the Yucca Mountain Project construction site, go to
www.ymp.gov/. (This site's designers helpfully offer options on the size
versions of photos/download time you prefer). You might start by reading the
interview with the Yucca Mountain project manager, who is more than a little
beleaguered by anti-nuke forces as well as the bureaucracy.
Integral Fast Reactor
Take a glimpse of what might have been the cutting edge in reactor
design--the Integral Fast Reactor. Developed at Argonne National Laboratory in
the mid-'80s, this reactor would not only have generated electricity, but would
have produced the fuel to run it, recycle the fuel and take care of the waste.
The Clinton administration announced termination of the IFR project in 1994.
(See the FRONTLINE interview with the IFR's developer Dr. Charles Till)
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Here is a repository of expert information about radiation and health.
How exactly does radiation harm you? A mini-library of PDF files are here for
downloading. Primers on radiation, the cell cycle, cancer and risk assessment
are so effectively written, you'll feel like you've learned a lot of
information in a short amount of time. Click on the section Human Radiation
Experiments to read about the recently declassified experiments conducted on
humans several decades ago, including subjects who were injected with
ISSUES, IN BRIEF
NEA Decommissioning Brief No.1
This web page is a FAQ on one subject: decommissioning nuclear power
plants. Succinct in delivering the what, why, and how of shutting down a