Take, for example, the Delta 4, one of the newest and most powerful
rockets on the planet. In its Heavy configuration, the Delta 4 can lift nearly 29,000 pounds into geosynchronous orbit (most rockets can't lift half that). But even with this huge capacity, it would still take about 3,100 flights to lift the 45,000 tons of nuclear waste now in storage out into the solar system. Give the rocket a generous 99 percent success rate, and you'd still expect to see 31 rockets carrying 450 tons of nuclear waste explode in the upper atmosphere before the job was done. This is risk analysis, and in this case, serious catastrophe is nearly guaranteed.