December, 1981 Home   Newsletters

January, 1982

February, 1982

Looking Ahead with League
President's Message (Barbara Farwell)
Vote Counts: Fun Earning Funds
How Observant Are You?
Teamsters' Election a Winner for LWV!
Christmas Luncheon a Success
Nuclear Waste Disposal: A Critical Issue (Ardis Shaw)
E.R.A. (Ruth J. Hinerfeld)
Membership Update
Current Studies / Current Action Programs
Honolulu League Program
Recommendations for 1982-84 National Program

Nuclear Waste Disposal: A Critical Issue

Four decades into the "atomic age" the United States still lacks a national plan for nuclear waste disposal.

Military and commercial wastes continue to pile up at temporary sites. Today in the U.S. there are more than 30,000 spent fuel assemblies, 86 million cubic feet of low level solid waste, and 77 million gallons of high level waste.

Finding a permanent solution has now become critical for several reasons: First, the number of active nuclear power plants in the U.S. will increase by almost 80% in just the next three years. Second, present methods for temporary storage of high level wastes are inadequate. Since 1950 over 50,000 gallons of highly radioactive waste have leaked from underground tanks. Third, States are increasingly reluctant to accept nuclear waste from outside its borders. There are currently 4 non-military disposal sites. By 1986 these sites can legally refuse to accept any waste from other States.

The predominant scientific strategy for permanent disposal is encapsulation and burial in deep, stable geological formations. Recent D.O.E. studies show subseabed burial becoming technologically and politically more attractive.

However, the inherent danger of radioactivity leads some to question whether nuclear power is worth the risks involved. Should we allow our country to become increasingly dependent on a nuclear option before an acceptable disposal method is found?

Ardis Shaw

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