A major motivator behind the nuclear industry’s push to have widespread environmental contamination perceived as being “good” and “normal” is cost. Contaminated land must be cleaned up due to Federal law. Certain undertakings result re-contamination and in new land being contaminated.
An example is provided by the military contamination of firing ranges and the requirement of a Federal agency to clean up those firing ranges:
“Since the Department of Interior will retain the ultimate land management for all of the public lands encompassing the Range, they, as well as the Air Force should be
consulted concerning the proposal to potentially disperse more than 1.5 tons of Depleted Uranium (DU) and up to 100 pounds of Beryllium on the public lands encompassing the
Range.” (Source: Paul J. Liebendorfer, P.E. Bureau of Federal Facilities, State of Nevada, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Division of Environmental Protection 333 W. Nye Lane, Room 138 Carson City, Nevada 89706-0851, Letter dated July 12 1999 to
Mr. George Laskar Assistant Area Manager Department of Energy, Albuquerque Operations office P. O. Box 5400 Albuquerque, NM 87185 http://ndep.nv.gov/boff/ndep10.htm)
“Soils Project – Soils Project analyzes contaminated surface and shallow subsurface soils on the Nevada Test
Site and the Nellis Test and Training Range, including the Tonopah Test Range. Contamination at these sites is the result of historic nuclear detonations, weapons safety
experiments, rocket engine development, and hydronuclear tests. The contaminants of concern are primarily americium, plutonium, depleted uranium, and other man-made radioactive materials. In addition, there are sites where metals may be
present above regulatory limits. The U.S. Department of Energy Nevada Site Office is working closely with the U.S. Air Force and the State of Nevada to determine what corrective actions may be necessary.” (Source: US Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security
Administration, U.S. DOE/NNSA – Nevada Site Office Environment Management
It can be seen that pressure to reduce costs may be very strong.
At what point will economy determine public risk?
Is it happening now?