For Our Nuclear Wastes, There’s Gridlock on the Way to the Dump

It’s not an emergency yet, but we have tons of the stuff, some of it hot, some not so hot, and nobody can agree on where to bury it

Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a salt mine near Carlsbad, New Mexico and Ward Valley, California are three of the sites that have been selected as permanent repositories for various categories of nuclear waste. Each site is the subject of endless controversy and litigation because of questions that have been raised about the prospects of radiation being released as a result of volcanic action, earthquakes or water seepage. Although the Department of Energy plans to start putting waste in the New Mexico salt mine as early as 1998, so many issues remain to be resolved that our radioactive materials will have to remain in their temporary storage sites for the foreseeable future.

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