Page 19


EMILY KAPLAN PEOPLE Make a world of difference ! Were proud of our employees and their contributions to your success and ours. Call us for quality printing, binding, mailing and data processing services. Get to know the people at Futura. FUTUM P.O. Box 17427 Austin, TX 78760-7427 389-1500 COMMUNICATIONS, INC. dardized … easy for the layman to understand so that we will know what he contamination is … and the danger. … You can easily get lost in this information.” Other questions seemed more moral than technical. Should the tons of irradiated concrete and metal and dirt be moved, exposing workers as they tear plants down, exposing residents along the routes where waste will be transported? Should people who have derived no benefit from the nuclear energy industry be exposed to industry waste? Or should the radioactive waste remain on site, which in some cases will violate compacts made between industry representatives and neighbors of nuclear power plants, who were promised that the land would someday be clean and usable \(as residents of Somervell County were promised before Comanche “Why do you want our poison?” Lance Hughes of Native Americans for a Clean Environment asked Greta Dicus. Arkansas, recognizing nuclear waste disposal as a source of cash, entered into a compact to receive waste from neighboring Oklahoma’s Sequoyah plant, which is now inactive. “Our land is already contaminated,” Hughes said. “Why should we send our poisons to someone else? Our initial demand will be to keep it where it is and force … the cleanup. We didn’t want this stuff, but now our lands are poisoned. The Arkansas and Illinois river beds, which belong to the Cherokee Nation, are already contaminated we don’t want you to poison someone else’s land.” Hughes said the owners and regulators must assume responsibility for their actions. Those are the difficult questions. Who pays and how? George Crawford’ s solution, to leave the poisons in place, contained and monitored, will not work for Joe Campbell, who wants his grandchildren to fish in clean, clear water, no longer in the shadow of a nuclear power plant. The request of Lance Hughes’ group, to leave the radioactive waste on site and force a cleanup, will not be welcomed by other, perhaps less selfless, groups. As good as the proposal sounded, the land where a nuclear power plant has operated for 40 years, generating tons of nuclear poisons that will live for hundreds of thousands of years, will probably never met the “carrots, pigs and kids” standard. When Robert Oppenheimer witnessed the explosion of the first atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert in 1945, the man who more than any other was responsible for that awful moment, quoted from the Bhagavad Gita, saying “I have become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” The optimist in me wants to believe that we can still make this world a safer place, that we still have time. But after years working in opposition to nuclear power, and two days in Dallas in March, the realist in me fears that Oppenheimer has had the last word after all. for nuclear plants limit emissions to stricter standard than the EPA’s, critics contend that these are only “design criteria” and not actual emission limits. And the NRC itself admits that according to its own figures, the lifetime risk of fatal cancer from exposure to 100 millirems per year is one case of cancer among each 286 people exposed. Don Gardner, of the Campaign for Global Security and the Texas Nuclear Network, emphasized that “protecting the planet and the people far into the distant future is impossible without waste reclassification. Radioactive waste must be reclassified by longevity and hazard, and not by where it pops into the waste stream. The NRC and DOE must get their acts together …” especially for low-level wastes, which might end up in Texas’ designated dunip site in Hudspeth County, according to Gardner. Gardner expressed his concern that the planning documents for the Hudspeth County site don’t address the volume of radionuclides from Texas’ two power plants, or those from Maine and Vermont states that will probably be shipping radioactive waste to Texas under a compact recently approved by the Legislature. Dwayne Beavers, of the Cherokee Nation said that regulations should be clear and accessible. “The language needs to be stan 18 JULY 2, 1993