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Great Lakes Article:

Editorial: Nuclear Storage
Public must know truth about groundwater effects
Detroit Free Press
Published March 29th, 2005


Asetback for the Yucca Mountain nuclear storage project feels like a setback around here as well. The long-delayed site represents the only decent hope so far that Michigan and its neighbors can get spent fuel away from the shores of the Great Lakes, where it sits alongside the nuclear plants that used it.


That made very unwelcome news of the jaw-dropping announcement earlier this month that some research may have been falsified to show that radioactive material stored at Yucca Mountain would not endanger groundwater in its vicinity. The Department of Energy is investigating, after damaging e-mails turned up about work by the U.S. Geological Survey.


Moving the spent fuel away from water supplies here obviously can't come at the cost of ruining the drinking water in other parts of the country. The research has to be done right, no matter what the answer is, even if it means the country has to search out another solution.


And whatever the answer is, the Department of Energy will need to explain it as openly and completely as possible, in a way that nonscientists can understand. That's a minimum requirement at this point for retaining Americans' confidence in the precision and straightforwardness they deserve from their government -- especially when one locale, in this case Nevada, is being imposed upon to the benefit of the rest of the country.


Back in the hazy past, when the government first started working on the idea of a central nuclear storage site, the project was supposed to be up and running by 1998. That has since been pushed back to at least 2015, and that was before this new snafu came to light.


So much depends on getting nuclear waste storage right, from heightened terrorism worries in the post-9/11 world to the ability to debate whether global warming concerns ought to prompt more use of nuclear power. This devastating cloud of suspicion must be cleared up as soon as possible.

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