Nuclear waste could be stored close to existing nuclear facilities
Nuclear waste could be stored permanently at up to four locations across Scotland, it has emerged.
The Scottish government has launched a consultation exercise on the issue.
It believes waste should be stored close to existing nuclear facilities, reducing the need for waste to be transported long distances.
Scotland's civil nuclear sites are located at Dounreay, Hunterston, Chapelcross, Rosyth and Torness, near Dunbar.
It is understood that the proposals will have no impact on the handling of nuclear waste from the military base at Faslane on the Clyde.
The Scottish government's strategy is at odds with the UK government's preferred option of storing nuclear waste deep underground.
Sellafield in Cumbria is seen as the most likely location for an underground storage facility.
Publishing the consultation document, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said a responsible solution was needed to manage Scotland's radioactive waste.
"The consultation supports our commitment to near surface, near site facilities, allowing waste to be monitorable and retrievable with minimal need for transportation over long distances" he said.
"Having an out of sight, out of mind policy is losing support.
"The Scottish government is leading the way in reflecting the most up-to-date thinking and international practice."
However, Mr Lochhead said there was not a one size fits all approach.
"We want to see waste management plans and facilities that are designed to manage the different types of higher activity radioactive waste that we have in Scotland," he added.
"We have a duty to responsibly manage this waste to protect people and our environment."
Scottish Liberal Democrat energy and environment spokesman, Liam McArthur, said: "Responsible decisions need to be made about Scotland's nuclear burden.
"This is one issue where the SNP's reflex response, blaming previous administrations simply won't wash.
"We cannot delay making the difficult choices which will secure Scotland's safety from nuclear waste."