Radioactive Waste Disposal Still Unresolved

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ILLUSTRATION: THOMAS BETHGE/FOTOLIA
In general, local peoples have not been eager to host a radioactive waste disposal facility.

The long and tortuous search for a place to build a permanent radioactive waste disposal facility to serve the commercial nuclear power industry narrowed somewhat when the Energy Department recommended recently that three sites be studied for their geologic suitability. Howls of protest from all three regions greeted the announcement.

Favored sites are at Yucca Mountain in Nevada (Nevada Governor Richard Bryan promised to veto the site if it is the final selection); the Hanford reservation in Washington. (Washington Governor Booth Gardner said, “I think there is a significant chance that the waste might escape”); and a spot in Deaf Smith County, Texas (Texas Governor Mark White said, “Before the people of Deaf Smith County will glow in the dark, sparks will fly”). The DOE hopes to make a final selection in about five years.