Problems and Prospects for Nuclear Waste Disposal Policy

Problems and Prospects for Nuclear Waste Disposal Policy

Problems and Prospects for Nuclear Waste Disposal Policy

Problems and Prospects for Nuclear Waste Disposal Policy

Synopsis

The development and use of nuclear power in the United States has become stalemated. After the early promise of energy "too cheap to meter," public concerns and legal challenges have stymied the nuclear power industry. Chief among these is the issue of safe disposal of nuclear waste. This volume, therefore, examines the dynamics of nuclear waste disposal policy. It is organized to address a wide range of issues found in the policy debate, e.g., the interrelationship between science and public choice, policy management and implementation, legal protection and liability, quality assurance and transportation, and so on. The volume provides a comprehensive view of the complex environment in which nuclear waste disposal policy develops.

Excerpt

The nuclear age is just past fifty years old. What began as a terrible force of destruction for war was quickly transformed into a technological marvel for industrial and societal advancement. With the promise of electricity too cheap to meter and applications for industry and medicine, nuclear power proliferated throughout the 1950s through the 1970s.

One of the greatest promises of nuclear energy was its ability to seemingly deliver so much power with so little disruption to the environment. Gone were the smokestacks of coal-generated power plants and even the disruption to the landscape caused by hydro-electric power stations. in the rush to promote nuclear power, little thought was given to nuclear waste. There was a general faith that technical solutions could easily deal with any problems posed by nuclear waste.

Nuclear power has traveled a far rockier road since the mid-1970s. Public concerns have all but ground the expansion of nuclear power to a stop. a primary issue of public concern is the recognition that no long-term policy solutions exist for the disposal of nuclear wastes. With deadly contamination from such wastes lasting as long as 10,000 years, the early faith in technological solutions has been lost. It is now recognized that technology is just one of many factors driving the development of nuclear waste disposal policies.

This book examines the dynamics of nuclear waste disposal policy. We have organized the book to address a wide range of issues found in the nuclear waste disposal policy debate--whether these wastes be high-level or low-level. Chapters 1 through 3 are broad cuts at the policymaking environment. Chapters 4 through 8 cover more specific management and policy concerns. the concluding two chapters are case studies of policy . . .

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