The Department of Energy (DOE) is now heralding the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) as the fulfillment of the government’s decades-long effort to diminish the environmental footprint of nuclear byproducts so they no longer pose a public health threat. This review has found, however, that the program is likely to squander billions in taxpayer dollars on an unproven reprocessing technology that will generate unprecedented and unmanageable amounts of highly radioactive wastes without plausible disposition paths.
To reduce the amount of radioactive wastes slated for a deep geological repository, the DOE is seeking to store the vast majority of radioactive byproducts in shallow burial. Far from containing toxins, however, this proposal would pose threats to nearby water supplies. The site selected for the GNEP reprocessing facility would become a de-facto waste dump, creating unprecedented public health and security threats.