'New' option for resolving waste issue?

Friday, March 12, 2004

So what do you think? Should a low-level nuclear waste facility be built in Nebraska? The issue has arisen again because Nebraska is facing payment of a $151 million judgment due to its failure to build a nuclear waste dump in the early 1990s. The state had been called upon to build the dump by a multi-state compact of states, but did not do so because of opposition in Boyd County and refusal to do so by then Gov. Ben Nelson.

The refusal to issue a license was based upon possible pollution problems and a high water table at the proposed site.

Much of the front page of today's Gazette is devoted to a change of momentum on the nuclear waste issue. After hearing that the amount of the judgment against Nebraska could be reduced if the state agrees to build a waste dump, Sen. Tom Baker said Thursday he's see nothing wrong with placing the facility in his own back yard.

He explained. "This is medical waste. It consists of gloves, gowns and equipment. It's not nuclear cores or bombs." Baker went on to say that areas south of the Republican River in Southwest Nebraska would make a good site since there is no groundwater.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Kimball stepped forth to say his area -- on the state's western edge -- might be interested in hosting the low-level nuclear waste site.

The matter needs to be looked at. Across the United States, there are nuclear waste sites already in operation. Let's check them out. Have there been any problems? If so, what were they and how were they dealt with?

And -- beyond that -- what other alternatives are there? Could Nebraska contract with waste sites elsewhere in the U.S. to handle the low-level nuclear materials?

For sure, $151 million seems like a mighty high price to pay for a state and a former governor that were trying to protect the safety and well-being of the citizens.

It's good that the nuclear waste issue is being revisited. The situation needs to be resolved without excessive penalties for the state. As it is in all matters involving the government, the sad truth is that it is the people, ultimately, who get stuck with the bill.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: