NIMBY and Maybe: Conflict and Cooperation in the Siting of Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facilities in the United States and Canada

By Rabe, Barry G.; Gunderson, William et al. | Environmental Law, January 1994 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

NIMBY and Maybe: Conflict and Cooperation in the Siting of Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facilities in the United States and Canada


Rabe, Barry G., Gunderson, William, Frazer, Hilary, Gillroy, John M., Environmental Law


     Waste Disposal Capacity in the United States          73
     A. Early Stages in American LLRW Management           74
     B. LLRW Regulations                                   76

C. Siting Gridlock: Problems With The Regional

        Compacts                                           81
        1. The California Case                             82
        2. Background on the Ward Valley Site              83
        3. Political Fallout                               85
     D. Where the Supreme Court Standards on LLRW Siting   88
     E. Future LLRW Capacity Assurance                     89
III. The Canadian Approach: Signs of Cooperation           90
     A. Early Stages in Canadian LLRW Management           94
     B. Port Hope and Siting Conflict                      95
     C. The Task Force and the Social Process              98
     D. Revising the Classification System                100
     E. Exploring Alternative Disposal Methods            101
     F. Defining the Social Process                       103
     G. Implementing the Social Process                   104
     H. Possible Site Volunteers                          109
IV.  When Siting Works                                    112
     A. Extensive Public Participation                    114
     B. Burden Sharing and Freedom from Exploitation      115
     C. Public-Private Partnerships                       116
V.   Transferring the Process to the United States        118
VI.  Game Theory and Facility Siting                      121

I. INTRODUCTION

The domestic use of nuclear materials has traditionally been characterized as a collective good. Millions of Canadians and Americans enjoy relatively inexpensive energy from nuclear power plants. Thousands benefit from the post-world War II application of nuclear technology to medicine. From the formation of national regulatory entities in both nations through the 1970s, few people in either nation challenged the conventional wisdom that massive federal government subsidies for the development of nuclear power and medicine were anything other than a worthy endeavor which served broad, collective goals.

That consensus has unraveled in recent years, in part because of the issue of radioactive waste disposal. Episodes such as Three Mile Island drew attention to the safety of facilities generating nuclear power, but the issue of waste disposal poses a separate set of challenges for both nations. Whereas nuclear power and nuclear medicine are perceived as collective goods, Canadians and Americans recognize radioactive waste as a threat to public health, environmental protection, and the economic stability of any community which might become contaminated.

This paper examines one aspect of radioactive waste, so-called "low-level" waste, and one aspect of the waste management problem, siting facilities for waste storage and disposal. In both Canada and the United States, the evolution of nuclear technology has followed similar patterns and comparable technical and political waste disposal problems have emerged. Facility siting and management has been transformed from a fairly consensual area of environmental policy in the 1960s and 1970s to a conflict ridden area in more recent years. Time and again, when either Canadian or American communities are confronted with the possibility of "hosting" a new waste disposal or storage facility, the political reaction is immediate and intense. This reaction has blocked construction of any new facilities in either nation.

This manifestation of the Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBY) syndrome resembles the pattern exhibited with other types of waste disposal facilities, such as hazardous, solid, and biomedical wastes. This phenomenon offers some significant societal benefits, such as pressuring radioactive waste generators to explore alternative waste reduction or elimination methods.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

NIMBY and Maybe: Conflict and Cooperation in the Siting of Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facilities in the United States and Canada
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?