Is There a Safe Way to Dispose of Nuclear Waste?

Article excerpt

It is ironic that a full-page ad headlined "Our Need For More Nuclear Energy Is Up In the Air," should appear in the same issue of the paper as the article "Cost of Nuclear Waste Cleanup in the Billions," April 8, about the Department of Energy's Hanford nuclear weapons plant near Richland, Wash.

It may be true, as the US Council for Energy Awareness claims, that "Nuclear Energy Means Cleaner Air," but until there are reliable facilities for permanent disposal of spent fuel rods and dismantled reactor cores, nuclear energy, like nuclear weapons production, will mean contaminated soil and water. Jean Knox Gibb, Rockport, Mass.

Clearly the environmental messages of these two pages are conflicting.

As a result of the 625,000 cubic meters of radioactive solid waste and the 200 square miles of polluted ground water, the people of Richland, Wash., face a very real threat of water contamination. One then asks: "Why would the citizens of Richland really be concerned about nuclear power for cleaner air?"

This promotion for nuclear power by the US Council for Energy Awareness is most likely linked to the fact that the Bush Administration wants to build 100 new nuclear power plants as well as continue operation of existing plants which may be unsafe. This means approximately $400 billion will be spent for nuclear technology that creates waste which no one really knows how to dispose of safely, not forgetting nuclear technology has historically proven to be unsafe and environmentally disastrous. …