Nuclear power is back in the public consciousness these days as we search for better sources of clean energy to combat climate change.
Opponents cite the problem of what to do with nuclear waste, while proponents say it's no big deal and that all the nuclear waste from every nuclear power plant in the world could be safely disposed of in a relatively tiny underground facility or — perhaps even better — could simply be left where it is.
But the reality is that people don't want nuclear waste near where they live. So it mostly gets left wherever it gets created, and nuclear waste must be guarded around the clock, at great expense. The result is that we still don't actually have a good answer for where to put it or even how to pay for leaving it where it is.
There are a number of problems that need to be solved for nuclear power to be truly viable as a means of fighting climate change, but I feel like this one tends to be brushed aside too quickly. It's easy to dismiss it as not a big deal, or to defer worrying about it and assume someone will eventually come up with a good solution.
But the fact is it's a problem that hasn't yet been solved, even though many people say a solution should theoretically be easy. Can we actually solve it? If so, what would a realistic solution look like?