"LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- Twenty concrete vaults sit side-by-side, like self-storage containers, next to the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant. These concrete tombs hold fuel cells, each containing 12-foot rods of enriched uranium. The rods are toxic and radioactive and were never intended to be stored here indefinitely, among Ocean County's 560,000 residents.
Nationwide, about 70,000 tons of fuel rods wait for long-term storage -- the very long term. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that spent fuel stored at New Jersey's four nuclear power plants will remain dangerous to humans for at least 10,000 years and harmful to the environment for 1 million years more. The industry generates about 2,200 tons more of the waste each year, and many companies have plans to expand nuclear power in the United States -- PSEG wants to build a new plant in Salem County's Lower Alloways Creek Township.
Nobody, not even the owner of the southern New Jersey power plant, wants to keep this radioactive waste so close. But as a new presidential panel investigates what to do with spent fuel, nuclear energy experts say there are few options."
Michael Miller reports for the Press of Atlantic City April 25, 2010.