A formidable glitch occurred just as the United States prepares to embark on a multi-billion-dollar program to restart production of nuclear weapons. An explosion at an underground waste dump in New Mexico—complete with some sky-high kitty litter—is highlighting the dangers inherent not only in the weapons of mass destruction themselves but in the deadly wastes their development has left over the past 75 years. Here’s WhoWhatWhy’s exclusive report.
Tucked away in last year’s defense bill is a measure establishing the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. It encompasses three sites crucial to America’s wartime entry to the atomic age. Is the new park a monument to death or glorious victory? Paul DeRienzo went to one of the sites to find out.
Begun in 1989, America’s biggest radioactive contamination waste site—run by the Department of Energy—has cost taxpayers roughly $40 billion so far and may take another 40 years and an additional $100 billion before the cleanup is done, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. And critics argue workers are getting sick while waste is still leaking.
Every ten years or so, the nuclear establishment trots out a proposal to offload some of its so-called low-level waste—radioactive metals, concrete, soil, plastics, and other materials—onto the public. In the past, this idea was met with outrage and was stopped. But as the nation’s nuclear garbage pile continues to grow, the pressure to release some of it into commerce—and thus our daily lives—mounts.
The fiscal crisis offers ample opportunities for finger-pointing. Let’s be sure we’re not using it simply to advance an agenda, and try to keep our eye on those who (almost) always get their way.
Did Obama say “let’s roll” for household energy efficiency? Take a spin on this….