April 30, 2021
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The decades-long scientific consensus for disposal of high level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel has been isolation from people and the environment in a deep geologic repository. The United States’ search for such a repository started in 1950’s and culminated in the designation by Congress of Yucca Mountain, Nevada in 1987. Since that time, legal issues, contractual disputes, and political intervention
have combined to sideline disposal efforts, resulting in the accumulation of approximately 82,000 metric tons of heavy metal (MTHM) of spent nuclear fuel and approximately 7,000 MTHM of defense-related wastes at over 70 sites around the country. Mr. Hanson will discuss the historical, policy, and technical challenges posed by disposal of long-lived wastes for periods of up to 1 million years.
The Honorable Christopher T. Hanson was designated Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by President Joe Biden, effective Jan. 20, 2021. He was sworn in as a Commissioner on June 8, 2020, and is filling the remainder of a five-year term ending on June 30, 2024.
Hanson has more than two decades of government and private-sector experience in the fields of nuclear energy. Prior to joining the NRC, he served as a Staff Member on the Senate Appropriations Committee, where he oversaw civilian and national security nuclear programs.
Before working in the Senate, Hanson served as a Senior Advisor in the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. He also served in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, where he oversaw nuclear and environmental cleanup programs, and managed the department’s relationship with Congressional Appropriations Committees.
Prior to joining the department, he served as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, where he led multiple engagements for government and industry in the energy sector.
Hanson earned master’s degrees from Yale Divinity School and Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where he focused on ethics and natural resource economics. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana.