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RE: Nuclear Waste,Science, & Politics: Regaining Virginity?

jjcohen wrote:

-----Original Message-----

From: owner-radsafe@list.vanderbilt.edu

[mailto:owner-radsafe@list.vanderbilt.edu] On Behalf Of jjcohen

Sent: Friday, October 29, 2004 5:10 PM

To: vargo@physicist.net; 'Stabin, Michael'; 'John Jacobus';

franz.schoenhofer@CHELLO.AT; radsafe@list.vanderbilt.edu

Subject: Re:Nuclear Waste,Science, & Politics: Regaining Virginity?

  Of course nuclear waste decisions are primarily driven by politics.

And why not?  The "scientific" approach that has been applied over the

past 50 years, at a cost of billions of dollars has failed  to find an

acceptable solution--- succeeding only to enrich those who have been

feeding at the research funding trough. The message to a  scientifically

naive public is the problem must be extremely severe to justify such an

expenditure. Aversion to having such a deadly hazard anywhere nearby is

understandably a frightening prospect.

    Given the history of this problem,  any  assurance by the scientific

community that the waste can be safely handled is as difficult as

regaining one's lost virginity. Maybe it is best that the politicians

deal with the problem.  It is doubtful that they can do a worse job than

the scientific community has done.


I have to disagree with jjcohen.  I worked on the Basalt Waste Isolation

Project and had the signal honor of being fired, along with a 1000

others, by the US Senate meeting in august dignity (primarily the

responsibility of the Senator from Louisiana, Bennett Johnston).

Senator Johnston cleverly noticed that the Nevada congressional

delegation was much smaller than those from Washington state and Texas

and figured it would be easier to steam-roll Nevada.  Events have shown

him to have been naive.

The nuclear waste program is almost entirely a political failure,

including a failure to inform policy decisions with realistic risk

analyses.  The scientific evidence is clear that nuclear waste can be

safely handled and stored.  The failure of the program to date is

political -- executive, legislative, and judicial -- uninformed by the

scientific understanding of the problem.

Best regards.

Jim Dukelow

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Richland, WA


These comments are mine and have not been reviewed and/or approved by my

management or by the U.S. Department of Energy.