I would certainly say so. Currently, the most common way we dispose of radioactive waste material is to stick it in a massive concrete tank and monitor the environment around it, and just hope nothing goes wrong.
Yucca Mountain is an area in Nevada, 80 miles north of Las Vegas. It is the proposed site of a new nuclear waste facility. However, this area is known for seismic activity, or the occasional earthquake. Why it would make sense to build a radioactive waste storage facility on top of a seismically active area, I do not know. To me, this is a clear example indicating that we do not have any idea what we’re doing in terms of “smart” disposal of radioactive waste, and we should probably sort that out before we build more nuclear power plants.
I’m of the opinion that we should not wait. The dangers presented by radioactive waste are real, but are far less horrendous than they are perceived by most of us. A recent in-depth study done by MIT scientists encouraged pushing nuclear power forward as soon as possible because it has the potential to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions dramatically. Meanwhile, the Department of Energy should fund research and development of safer, better storage facilities, so we don’t just have to bury the waste and keep our fingers crossed.
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