The Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA), adopted by Congress in 1983, required the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to design and implement a system to dispose of 70,000 metric tons of the national inventory of high-level spent nuclear fuel in a permanent geologic repository.
The NWPA required the DOE to begin accepting spent nuclear fuel from commercial reactors and defense wastes at a repository by 1998, and directed the DOE to study suitable sites. This time frame has since been extended.
By 2002, the DOE focused on one potential site located in Nye County, Nevada at Yucca Mountain. The Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) will satisfy a long-standing federal obligation to take ownership of the waste (Nye County, Nevada Community Protection Plan, Approved August 2006). A map of the Yucca Mountain Site
can be viewed here.