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How does the nuclear waste being dangerous for between 200 and 15.7 million years[1] factor into the ROI? Not snark, I just can't fathom how to reliably keep something sealed for 15.7 million years, much less the knowledge of what it is or how to handle it if it becomes unsealed. Otherwise, sign me up for atom smashing/fusing.

Does that factor in to your thinking?

[1] http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2015/ph240/sherman2/

You’re referencing an undergraduate memo. I’m sure you could find something more authoritative if you want to try and convince people nuclear waste is an insoluble problem.

Nuclear waste is a political problem not a technical one. It’s either still hot and could be used for fuel or not and relatively safe. The hot stuff can be burned in reactors; we don’t because that requires plutonium cycle with the obvious weapons uses. Cold waste can be allowed to decay for a few decades, vitrified by mixing with molten glass so it’s chemically inert and stored in a geologically inactive area, anywhere far from continental plate boundaries deep in the ground[1]. It could also be dumped in deep marine trenches at subduction boundaries where it would eventually be returned to the earth’s core. If you want to get it off Earth altogether I’m sure we could get it to the moon if we really wanted.


Handling nuclear waste should factor into the ROI however the costs are relatively minimal. Nuclear waste does not remain dangerous for that long. The numbers you're misquoting (its 220k years not 200m years) from that bad source are for the half life of particular elements. It does not address the safety of these particular elements, nor does it discuss what particular fuel cycles produce those or at what concentrations.

Nuclear waste only remains seriously dangerous for "a few" decades after which it can be inertly stored indefinitely at minimal expense.

This is also assuming that we're not talking about any new/exotic fuel cycles, but, only with fuel cycles that were proven working 30+ years ago. If you want to discuss exotic fuel cycles things can be even better, though the science is less firm with less data on them (for now).

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