Nuclear Waste

Nuclear power is not a clean energy source: It produces radioactive waste that remains dangerous for several hundred thousand years. This waste is the Achilles heel of the nuclear power industry, and no country in the world has found a solution for what to do with it. Radioactive waste poses a serious danger to human health, and because of its toxicity and longevity, we are unable to truly manage and contain it. Public Citizen advocates for stringent laws and regulations to keep nuclear waste securely isolated from people and the environment.

Read the full "Principles on Safeguarding High Level Radioactive Waste".

Concerns about nuclear power often center on the radioactive waste created by nuclear power plants. There are, however, additional dangers. Before a reactor can even be operated, nuclear power requires the mining, milling, and enrichment of uranium for fuel. All of these processes cause widespread environmental contamination along with serious health and safety hazards.

Learn more about the Impacts of the nuclear fuel cycle.

Lastly, after a nuclear power plant has been permanently shut down, the plant must be decommissioned, a process the Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines as "safely removing a facility from service and reducing residual radioactivity." Nuclear utilities establish trust funds, through fees collected from their ratepayers, to pay for the immense costs of decommissioning.

False Solutions to the Nuclear Waste Problem: