AUTHORWalker, J. Samuel
TITLEThe Road to Yucca Mountain: The Development of Radioactive Waste Policy in the United States
PUBLISHERUniversity of California Press
CITYBerkeley, CA
DATE PUBLISHED2009
ISBN978-0-520-26045-0


This work documents the history of nuclear waste disposal in the United States from the 1940s to the 1980s. It focuses upon radioactive waste generated from the commercial use of nuclear energy rather than high activity waste and spent fuel remaining from the nation's production of nuclear weapons. The author describes the deliberations and actions of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and its successors, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Department of Energy (DOE), to deal with waste disposal. The book details the failed attempt to locate a repository for high-level waste in an abandoned salt mine near Lyons, Kansas; addresses the issues surrounding the 1977 government decision not to reprocess spent reactor fuel; and devotes a chapter to the transportation of nuclear waste and its effect on public attitudes toward nuclear power generation. It concludes with an examination of the events leading to the DOE's selection of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The author, a historian of science, provides a fascinating narrative of the interactions among scientists, policy makers, politicians, activists, and the public in addressing the complex problem of nuclear waste management. Substantial endnotes and a short essay on sources accompany the well-researched text.


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