Currently, most of the waste for which the Yucca Mountain repository was designed is stored throughout the country at commercial nuclear power plants; there is a smaller amount of the waste at Department of Energy facilities. Nuclear power plants currently store spent nuclear fuel in specially designed, water-filled pools and above-ground dry storage facilities, however, some of these storage spaces are reaching capacity. These sites were designed for temporary storage, but have acted as extended period storage until a repository is established. The Department of Energy wastes are mainly the result of processing spent nuclear fuel in support of military programs.
As developments in the Yucca Mountain project are released, this information may change; the EPA will continue to update these FAQs with new information.
For a list of all of the currently operating Nuclear Power Reactors, please visit the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s page about currently operating reactors that the NRC regulates.