Nuke industry says cheapest waste-disposal plan is plenty safe

With the Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste disposal facility mired in technical, legal, and political difficulties, nuke boosters have decided, hey, who needs it anyway? “People are no longer saying Yucca Mountain has to be finished in order for the nuclear industry to have a revival in this country,” says a spokesflack for Senate Energy Committee Chair Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), and of course by “people” she means, well, the nuclear industry. Industry boosters now say that the waste is safe where it is, in aboveground storage pools at nuclear power plants. This judgment is echoed in a report delivered to Congress by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a summary of a study from the National Academy of Sciences. Mind you, members of the academy involved in the study say that the commission is distorting their findings, and that nobody fully understands the risk of storing nuclear waste in pools. They recommend that the waste be moved to dry storage casks, which would cost the industry a pretty penny but would likely be safer from terrorist attack.