Page 1


4 Monde Ma 1 1978 DMUS 11145 HERO Nuclear waste disposal pla awmg.unexpected oppos e rock. explained Martini. who opPeeilien w th e of salt domes in cal. is not widen e Cadsted vaste Bill? u& of the bill ie.v. New York taxpayers with Tire C. If the Carter propo-.4 is apoved, some ve, a similar ‘min : .tionpr could occur, belie with am a nomi hand live wide from the bottom of the deep blue sea to Potter or Swisher counties by Aug. I to go vernment Criticized on Lack of. Nuclear Accident Pre ace d By Rob Warden n the ji that should h. ” 1 swam to The *Wharton root st Government turns to Texas, seeking nuclear junkyards AUSTIN tAPI A government search are prepared to drill /.000-toot bolo io Explosion rock nuclear s plant exp,..,on Tna4 ATERFORD, Conn \(AD, S Griswol d Par the radia d and that rei ‘would be warned of sta ck. -the accidei ‘welloactivity Was’ rakes, .neast ten radloacU e atomic bomb re. estimated that the it will help a depressed economy w i YtL arL ia tc anl e tr i e d s:tei bt e t. Carlsbad, N. M., isn’t sure it an accident are one in wants to store nucletham,ron,w ,..,irdeldadthre St:714ntea8 “u1 Stie d :r ud evet r’; ” BY WINS “4 Times News Service a staff scientist and three researchers. In lay waste be southeastern New Mexico, when the supported by foundation grants, and it has —wents of the nuclear storage facility cffunercial waste. By Cr By Etiers. “CI!en ‘. are ‘reapetnetp i rm -m s Va wa. away to ot Th e Zutua t i am \(7Q. yt away ferkw. to Foot Nuke Carter pk. Taxpayers ENWRONMENT -^nneed the less expensive fuel II. the short rt nth. eyar it could keep After years of 9 Z;Ver A gravd for nuclear vva evacuatif cause 3 terns d/ Vous rise a g ‘s n roup wl The Mid 1,1 prose:natty:. 1Oya .hs4 r th o ,Leci ot t a l bee n 4t a Or ta oft 4:40: t oxi e c a n44. rile /y am , rep o Z Or A a t have p e h t aeo et ir l and a n :ied that the stgiC’eTalerchtp.e”gresaroaan sin!!af yeas e !_o tral ne-reC_!-Vpk,ryn”Arnear APerkp la ;iennt osing ‘rnei deep nor % e/f etss Intni nthus. sai geohvss ii di ti , e s tor a 404:BaP t t o th C’e t f a a Nth. l a Wid 00,4 ‘.0 t ome s o st4PeRe ,,subc..F7vetatruentelling btrettisePailitedpeknes4ti”& e atim. anOpe n pub into or jets …L4r on . One ditty totro. al `We ack o f s , ed New Mexicans aa:gea abe also beton* becoming facility, Steve Noe.,ratirl,ii BY Y De U. S. Sees No Permanent Disposal of Nuclear Waste Before 1988 4`;:** 414’21:h THE NEW YORK Tams, THURSDAY MARCH 16, 197d o a 4e t l -24r i z e’ i9litt :Peg j”tic4i eW U;s P”be: The urgency of the situation has been recognized by all the parties to the national debate. Federal Energy Research and Development Administration officials predicted last fall that 23 of the country’s 67 operating nuclear power plants may have to shut down by 1979 if a “permanent” solution to nuclear waste disposal is not found. The President’s Council on Environmental Quality has called for governmental action that would effectively ban construction of new nuclear power plants until the waste disposal problem is solved. And the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups have gone to court seeking a moratorium on nuclear power expansion until wastes can be safely contained. In April of this year, the U.S. House committee on government operations contributed to the dispute with a report on the costs of nuclear power. A committee statement accompanying the report concluded: “After 30 years of atomic power, neither the federal government nor the nuclear industry has managed to produce a safe and cost-effective solution to the problem of radioactive waste disposal, thereby threatening the future of nuclear power in the United States.” Since World War II, nuclear wastes of military origin have been accumulating in temporary “disposal” facilities at Hanford, Washington; Savannah River, South Carolina; and Idaho Falls, Idaho. According to the House report on nuclear costs, there are 74 million gallons of high-level weapons wastesor enough to inundate an area the size of the original 40-acre University of Texas campus to a depth of five feet, eight inches kept at these three sites. An additional 3,000 metric tons of spent fuel from private power plants are stored close by their reactors, and it is expected that 17,000 more will pile up in the next decade. Although the military waste still bulks larger in volume than that generated by commercial power plant reactors, the commercial waste is so much more concentrated that total outputs from the two sources are nearly equivalent in radioactive strength. Permanent disposal methods have not been developed, but it is estimated that it will take from $1 billion to $2 billion per year for the next 20 years to institute the massive program required to handle existing and anticipated wastes. Luther J. Carter, writing in the February 1977 issue of Science magazine, notes that “the total cost of ultimate disposal could be something on the order of what it cost to put a man on the moon.” A new plan In 1975, with the demise of the AEC, the management of radioactive wastes passed to ERDA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ERDA, in turn, was formally dissolved when the Department of Energy was created on October 1, 1977, and nuclear waste disposal responsibility passed on to the new department with many officials of the defunct agency in tow. By most accounts, the AEC bungled the job of waste management. Luther Carter summed up the 30-year history in Science: “[The AEC’s] stewardship was marked by a resort to temporary expedients that turned out to be not so temporary after all and by some hastily contrived attempts at longer-term or permanent disposal that proved abortive.” The AEC literally handed over a time-bomb to ERDA \(and waste caretaking. Leo Ryan, chairman of the House subcommittee studying nuclear costs, observed, “The management of these wastes seems to have been virtually dismissed with the attitude of ‘American technology will take care of it when the time comes.’ ” With 67 operating nuclear power plants and 70 more due within seven years, time has run out. DOE has inherited a vast store of waste, some of it so dangerous it will require “perpetual care” for as long as 250,000 years. Leaks have occurred at both military and commercial storage sites. For example, 549,400 gallons of radioactive waste seeped out of the federal government’s Hanford facility between 1958 and 1975; one leak in 1963 went unnoticed for 50 days. More reliable disposal methods are plainly needed, but so far permanent storage plans remain theoretical and untried. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3