There are only a few alternatives to deep geological disposal of radioactive waste.
For high-level waste (HLW), deep geological disposal is the only viable option. Even if transmutation technology were to function at some time in the future, a deep geological repository would still be required for the remaining waste. The idea continually surfaces that HLW could be shot into space, but the risk of an accident is too high; the waste would fall to the earth's surface with no possibility for control.
For low- and intermediate-level waste (L/ILW), the option of disposal at the surface exists and is already practised in France and Spain. In Switzerland, however, deep geological disposal is also legally prescribed for L/ILW.
Further reading (in german):
Im Vergleich: Entsorgungskonzepte gestern und heute (1,1 MB)
(Beitrag im Nagra Info 20, Mai 2006)
Partial view of the Spanish El Cabril surface disposal facility for low-level waste. Empty disposal compartments can be seen in the front foreground of the photograph. (Image: Enresa)