Boundaries: A Casebook in Environmental Ethics

By Christine E. Gudorf; James E. Huchingson | Go to book overview

SIX
Buried Alive

Future Generations and Permanent
Underground Disposal of Nuclear Waste

“ICAN THINK of better things to do in Las Vegas than waiting in this small conference room,” said David, glancing at his watch impatiently.

“Are you saying that our royal tour of Yucca Mountain this morning wasn't worth the trip?” replied Stephanie.

“That's no big deal,” continued David. “During my twenty years with the Nuclear Energy Institute [NEI] I've seen the storage facility many times. Still, with each visit I've become more confident of its function as the deep geological site for permanent disposal of high-level nuclear wastes. That's why I feel this meeting is unnecessary, even absurd. The problem of where to store spent fuel rods from nuclear plants has been solved. Now it's time to get on with the project, not to revisit old debates.”

“You're right, the debate is old. People have been arguing the merits of permanent geologic disposal for forty years, but you must agree that this meeting adds a new twist,” said Stephanie.

“I'll say,” agreed David. “Not only new but completely bizarre. As representatives of the NEI and the Department of Energy [DOE], our assignment is to make the case of industry and government to somebody who officially represents future generations. What was the president thinking when he established an office of advocacy for future generations in the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], and what was Congress thinking when it confirmed his nonsense?”

-101-

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