Cleaning up radioactive and chemical waste at the nation’s nuclear weapons plants and military installations looms as the biggest, toughest and most expensive task of ecological restoration in American history. It presents technical challenges equal to the Apollo moon landing and space shuttle programs, and
it will cost roughly as much, about $130 billion …
A decade later, significant progress has been made in the cleanup of some sites, but the problem and the challenges of restoration of many sites is even greater than envisioned in 1989. The cost estimates are now two and three times greater, and
overall progress is disappointing. Nevertheless, new radiological waste management technologies, together with the long-awaited operational status of high-level and transuranic waste disposal sites, are expected to eventually facilitate progress in the cleanup effort. In the following sections, some of the current and planned remediation projects and technologies are overviewed and references to more detailed information are provided. It may be useful to briefly review some of the history, perspectives, and imperatives that brought the nation and the world to the present set of circumstances regarding nuclear energy and radioactive wastes.