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Community Response to Low-Level Radioactive Waste: A Case Study of an Attempt to Establish a Waste Reduction and Incineration Facility

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3 Author(s)

The Federal Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act of 1980 specified a 1986 deadline for the establishment of state and regional low-level radioactive waste disposal sites. There is little optimism that the deadline will be met. Morris K. Udall has introduced Bill HR 1083 in Congress which proposes extending the deadline to 1993 and specifying a 40 percent reduction in the volume of wastes shipped. Waste volume can be reduced through incineration and compaction technologies. However, it may be as difficult to convince communities that a waste treatment facility is a good investment as it is to convince them that a disposal site is worth having. In other words, the waste volume reduction argument may ultimately depend on cutbacks in the nuclear industry. This research reports one community's response to the possibility of a low-level radioactive waste compaction and incineration facility. The case is especially interesting because the community needs new industries and has a history of living with a nuclear materials facility. In spite of that the community's response was quite negative, fueled by a vocal local opposition group and anti-nuclear activists. Survey data indicates that despite general opposition people still feel the need for more information on radioactive materials and are willing to attend education sessions if the time and place are convenient. Suggestions are given for those considering future attempts to establish low-level radioactive waste reduction facilities.

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Nuclear Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:32 ,  Issue: 6 )