Most nuclear power plants—including all the reactors in the United States—use low-enriched uranium (LEU) as a fuel source. LEU and its waste products are not directly usable in nuclear weapons.
Nuclear waste can however be reprocessed and reused. This involves separating out plutonium and turning it into a form of nuclear fuel that’s reusable in nuclear reactors.
While reprocessing nuclear waste to make new fuel sounds attractive—and is done in Japan, Britain, France, Russia, and elsewhere—the plutonium it produces is usable in nuclear weapons and vulnerable to theft, especially during transportation.
To help prevent nuclear terrorism, the United States should continue its ban on domestic reprocessing, and advocate against it abroad.