You want to keep spent fuel. It's not really "waste" - the anti-nuclear lobby just likes to call it that to hype up opposition. Current light water reactor designs use only about 5% of the U-235 in the fuel rods, and only about 1% of the total energy extractable from the uranium.
Come again? Current typical PWR fuel usage is to take fuel that contains 4.5% U-235, and discharge after a fuel burn-up of 50,000 megawatt-days/tonne, spent fuel containing 1.02% U-235, which would be using 77% of the U-235 in the fuel rods, not 5%.
Also it is not clear whether your "1%" number refers to the theoretical fissile energy from the originally mined fuel (including the safely stored, easily accessible depleted uranium, which is not in the fuel rod) or just the actinides in the fuel rod itself. In the latter case, not only is U-235 burned, but a significant amount of U-238 is transmuted and burned as well (a bonus of going to higher fuel burn-ups), so about 5% of the total actinide content in the fuel is burned, a lot more than "1%".
That's why spent fuel remains "hot" for so long - the vast majority of the energy it contains is still there, and is emitted over time as radioactive energy as it decays.
Right - it is the unburned transuranics that comprise nearly all of the long-term hazard. Reburning spent fuel in specially designed reactors can extract power and keep the size of this spent fuel actinide inventory stable. Active reuse of the fuel will also prevent it from being seen as a permanent burden, eventually it will be taken away and burned.
The problem is that only heavy subsidies will build these burner reactors - they will never compete with once-through U-235 burning because the capital and fuel cost of these is lower.
Mining and enriching U-235 is actually cheaper that reprocessing spent fuel. Regular enriched uranium fuel is not "hot". It is easy to handle without special hot cells for everything. The U-235 is easier to burn. You can't even argue that eventually they will have to build them because the natural uranium will run out. It will be cheaper to extract U-235 from seawater than use transuranic fuel, in which case we will have a 10,000 year supply of once-through burning.
Transuranic burners will require government intervention to bring them into existence, to subsidize their operation in some fashion. Perhaps tying the spent fuel tax will to this is how to do it, but it looks like the tax is too low currently. If this is going to happen maybe someone should start making it happen - real development plans - now so they will actually exist in 25 years, instead of still being fiction in 75.
"OMG - this solves the nuclear waste problem! Why aren't we doing this?" Unfortunately, breeder reactors create weapons-grade plutonium as a byproduct. That's the only reason we don't do it - it's a purely political reason, not technical.
Nope they do not produce "weapons-grade plutonium" (which can only be made in low burn-up reactors, far below the burn-ups of current power reactors). It does produce extremely dirty weapons-useless plutonium*, but then it burns it too, so the net effect should be to reduce it.
President Carter banned the commercial use of breeder reactors in the U.S.
Please cite the legal vehicle through which Carter "banned" them? (You can't because this is fantasy.)
What Carter did do was veto funding for the Clinch River Breeder Reactor project one year, since it was growing into a colossal boondoggle, but the veto had no effect since it was over-ridden and the project continue unabated. The project was eventually killed by Congress in the Reagan Years (1983) because as Carter argued, it was a colossal boondoggle. The cost had grown from $400 million (with industry kicking in $257 million) to a project coasting $8 billion (with government covering all of that cost increase). That, and there was no wast processing facility to handle its fuel, that having been shutdown during the Ford Administration.
There is no "breeder ban".
*It is possible to make nuclear explosives with any combination of the transuranics, they are all fissile. But trying to make a practical munition out of the very hot (thermally and radioactively) transuranics is impossible. The weapon would require special cooling at all times, no one could service them unless using a hot cell, service life would be very short, requiring constant rebuilds.