The federal government has failed in its statutory responsibility to deliver a disposal pathway for commercial spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and the high-level radioactive waste (HLW) generated by the Cold War arms race. A new report by Center on Global Energy Policy research scholar Dr. Matt Bowen explains how the United States reached its current standstill over SNF and HLW disposal, and discusses how the nation might restructure its approach moving forward. In particular, the report looks at nuclear waste management approaches in other U.S. contexts, as well as the consent-based strategy employed by several countries (Finland, Sweden, and Canada) to site geologic repositories for disposal of SNF. American policy makers could adopt elements of these approaches to improve U.S. management of SNF and HLW.

The Center on Global Energy Policy will host a webinar addressing the U.S. nuclear waste program and the policy options outlined in the report. Following the report author’s presentation, a panel of experts will discuss various aspects of U.S. SNF and HLW management. 


  • Dr. Matt Bowen, Research Scholar, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia SIPA 


  • Dr. Evaristo “Tito” Bonano, Senior Manager of Nuclear Engineering Fuel Cycle, Sandia National Laboratories
  • Dr. Phil Sharp, former U.S. Representative, Indiana’s 2nd & 10th Congressional Districts and former President, Resources for the Future
  • Melanie K Snyder, Program Manager, Nuclear Waste Transportation and Disposition, Western Interstate Energy Board