Does Obama's energy policy leave out Nuclear waste?
President Obama has put forward his budget for the new energy policy, but critics say that he hasn't put any money aside to decide what to do with the the highly toxic nuclear waste that currently exists.
"The nation has already accumulated 60,000 metric tons of spent nuclear waste, and the material is going to have to be isolated from the environment for hundreds and thousands of years," says Edwin Lyman, senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington.
You cannot make the waste simply disappear - the only solution is to find an environmentally friendly way to dispose of it.
The White House released a budget document last week but no mention is made of nuclear power making a transition to a low-carbon option. It does however, cite the need for other forms of energy, such as solar, biomass, geothermal, wind and a form of coal power.
There was a proposal a number of years ago to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, which Obama campaigned against previously.
It was in 1982 that the Nuclear Waste Policy Act wanted Washington to set up a permanent nuclear waste site and it was decided on Yucca Mountain. In 2008 the license application was submitted by the Department of Energy.
"We have 104 reactors in 31 states providing one-fifth of the nation's electricity generation overall," says Steve Kerekes, an NEI spokesman. "When you look at carbon-free electricity generation – hydroelectric power plants, wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear – of those sources, nearly 75 percent comes from nuclear power plants. We are far and away the leading source of carbon-free generation."
But now the Yucca Mountain project has been abandoned and there is no plan B.
As there is no funding in the new budget, it is now a question of where the waste is going to go.
"The government is going to pay one way or another. You can get rid of Yucca, but you can't get rid of the government's contract obligations," says Jerry Stouck, a Washington attorney who represents several utilities in this dispute.
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Negros Oriental, Philippines