The US Department of Energy has stated that it is no longer pursuing domestic commercial reprocessing.
It announced in late June that it has cancelled the environmental impact statement of the domestic Global Nuclear Energy Partnership programme, effectively halting the programme. It said that reprocessing was the primary focus of that programme.
However, the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, provides $145 million for the continuation of research and development (R&D) on proliferation-resistant fuel cycles and waste management strategies.
As described in the President’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget request, the Department’s fuel cycle R&D’s focus is on ‘‘long-term, science-based R&D of technologies with the potential to produce beneficial changes to the manner in which the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear waste is managed.’’
One outlet for this money is likely to be the Generation IV International Forum, which includes a research programme on fast-breeder reactors, which in turn require reprocessing plants.
At the close of the comment period in March 2009, the DOE had received more than 14,500 comments on the draft environmental impact statement.