What's wrong with the DOE's plan to leave things on-site?
Nothing is wrong with the DOE's plan as long as natural processes like erosion never happen, the usual leaks don't occur, funding and technology are made available for one hundred thousand years, and our government last for that same duration.
In other words, if the DOE is allowed to leave things on site we will have to maintain the site for a time period that just seems unreasonable. How many governments last beyond five hundred years?
The DOE's plan also encases the waste in concrete. It will be virtually impossible to fix the inevitable leaks, exhume the waste when there is a problem, or safely monitor it at the source.
Why are they choosing this plan?
We have asked them on many occasions and the answer is unclear.
Money? Maybe they are just cheaping out. Our vision is more expensive in the short term but less expensive in the long run.
Lack of a solution? Their plan is more an absence of a good plan. What do you do with nuclear waste? Right now nothing. Their idea is to cover it up and forget about it. We want it kept safe.
They believe it's the best solution? Though we usually slam them every chance we get, we have a hard time believing their intellect is that difficient.
Has West Valley caused a lot of cancer?
There was an inconclusive study done by the University of Buffalo. Some said it definitely showed a high rate of disease, others said the opposite. While it can not be denied that many workers during the early NFS days were over exposed on a regular basis, and that many leaks into the environment occured, it is hard to say what the immediate effect has been.
Things are much better now that the DOE is on site and reprocessing has ceased. The concern now is the lack of a long term solution. If the radioactivity that's onsite now leaks out the exposure rate will be extremely high.
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