More than 2,000 feet underground in Carlsbad, New Mexico, sits the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).
WIPP is the country’s only deep geological repository for nuclear waste of any kind — the U.S. doesn’t have a permanent repository for high level waste like spent nuclear fuel . But its other claim to fame is it’s also a case study in “consent-based siting,” which is the practice of getting community buy-in for nuclear storage sites.
Now, a $3 million research project led by the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for Public Policy Research is aiming to develop a new framework for consent-based interim siting of spent nuclear fuel. As the nation’s nuclear waste storage crisis becomes increasingly more imminent, researchers hope they can craft policy that will incentivize communities to volunteer themselves as interim storage sites.