Crisis

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Crisis

“Crisis!” Anytime we, as a society, hear this word our ears perk up and the speaker has our attention. Usually when we hear crisis we think that it is something with “the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome” (Merriam Webster) that calls for immediate response. President George W. Bush says that we are in a national “energy crisis” (Is Yucca Mountain in Nevada a safe disposal site?). Bush has proposed a solution, storing all of our nation’s nuclear waste in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, but has been met with much resistance from Nevada residents and politicians and environmental groups.

The proposal is that Yucca Mountain will be a “permanent disposal facility” for two types of nuclear energy. Spent energy is from
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Lisa Gue, a policy analyst with Public Citizen says, “Yucca Mountain is an unsuitable site for an unsuitable project.”

Many of the environmentalists oppose Yucca Mountain because they believe that the waste could contaminate our water supply. They believe that water could corrode the canisters and then the United States would be confronting a catastrophe. However, a study, conducted by the DOE, found that even if water would erode the canisters of waste, the waste would still have to pass through one thousand feet of rock to contaminate an underground water supply. Obviously, this fifteen year study, completed in 1998, greatly encouraged progression towards completion of Yucca Mountain. Despite these findings, skeptics still believe that water could be contaminated and claim that because the study was conducted by the DOE-which is pro-Yucca Mountain-that it should be disregarded as biased.

The largest problem confronting Yucca Mountain is transporting the radioactive waste from temporary storage sites. The waste would be transported by truck and train. Inevitably, accidents would occur during this process. The DOE says that special shipping casks should prevent any major impacts from any accidents. Critics, who have dubbed the Yucca Mountain plan “Mobile Chernobyl,” say that the combination of diesel fuel fires and radioactive waste could seriously pollute our nation’s
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