Blue Ribbon Commission will examine fuel cycle

U.S. Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu announced the formation of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. The commission will provide "recommendations for developing a safe, long-term solution to managing the Nation's used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste." The formation of the commission is part of the process of re-evaluating the strategy of dealing with spent nuclear fuel, which until recently relied on disposal of spent fuel in the Yucca Mountain repository. The Obama administration effectively terminated the Yucca Mountain project in the fist months in office.

According to the presidential memorandum, the commission is not limited to fuel storage solutions and could consider reprocessing as well:

The Commission should conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, including all alternatives for the storage, processing, and disposal of civilian and defense used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste. This review should include an evaluation of advanced fuel cycle technologies that would optimize energy recovery, resource utilization, and the minimization of materials derived from nuclear activities in a manner consistent with U.S. nonproliferation goals.

The Commission is directed to produce an interim report in 18 months (by August 2011) and the final report - in 24 months (by February 2012).