Interest in expanding nuclear power globally continues to grow and various studies are underway to examine all issues associated with much expanded nuclear programmes. The most open questions today are related to the security and non-proliferation implications and to the disposal of radioactive wastes. The security and proliferation concerns have been almost entirely focussed on enrichment technology at the front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle and on reprocessing. Although these are the highest risk areas, it is also important that the potential security problems associated with waste management (in particular with the storage and disposal of spent fuel and radioactive wastes) are not neglected. Furthermore, the costs of national geological repositories imply that, for new or small nuclear programmes, such facilities can be implemented only in the far future, if at all. The international community should continue to strengthen its efforts to highlight the risks and to facilitate solutions that reduce the threats of nuclear materials being distributed widely across the globe. In practice, this challenge has been taken up by a number of organisations that are developing initiatives that can alleviate the potential global security and proliferation problems by promoting multinational approaches to the fuel cycle. This paper addresses those initiatives that are concerned with the storage and final disposal of radioactive wastes and spent nuclear fuel.

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