As part of the fuel mix disclosure, suppliers have to state the amount of high-level radioactive waste created as a result of the generation of the electricity they supply.
Nuclear waste is produced at each stage of the nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium mining to reprocessing irradiated nuclear fuel. Much of the high-level radioactive waste will remain hazardous for thousands or even millions of years.
Nuclear power also creates large quantities of medium and low-level waste which requires storage and/or controlled disposal, but the fuel mix disclosure regulations only relate to high-level waste.
Still no solution
After over 50 years of nuclear power and numerous Government studies and reports, the UK still has no satisfactory solution for dealing with nuclear waste.
Geological (underground) disposal is the current preferred option, but the search continues for a suitable location. Only three local authorities, all in West Cumbria, have expressed an interest, establishing the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership to investigate whether they should participate in the search for a dump. The Partnership reported in August 2012. The three local authorities will decide whether to begin a search for a site on 11th October 2012, but as things look at the moment (September 2012) they are liable to vote against, throwing the Government’s plans for new reactors into disarray.
An account of the attempts to find a solution to the problem of nuclear waste is given in History of nuclear waste disposal proposals in Britain.