What happens if the U.S. doesn't have a geologic waste disposal site in operation?
The CFPP, just like all existing nuclear power plants, will have facilities onsite to store used nuclear fuel. These are licensed and regulated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Because of the uncertainty of U.S. federal policy, new plants are being designed and constructed so that all of the used fuel that would be generated during the lifetime of the plant can be safely stored on-site. When removed from a reactor, used fuel is kept in water to provide cooling and shielding of plant personnel. After 3-5 years, the used fuel can be dried and moved to an onsite dry fuel storage cask. The NRC has renewed and accepted a long term Environmental Impact Statement that has determined there are no adverse environmental effects and that long term spent fuel storage can be safely conducted at all U.S. nuclear power plants when stored in accordance with the applicable Federal regulations.
More broadly, as part of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, the U.S. Congress established a fee paid by electric utilities of nuclear generated electricity to fund the safe and long term storage of radioactive materials.