Hazards of High-Level Radioactive Waste-the Great Myth

  • Bernard L. Cohen


An important reason for the public’s concern about nuclear power is an unjustifiable fear of the hazards from radioactive waste. Even people whom I know to be intelligent and knowledgeable about energy issues have told me that their principal reservation about use of nuclear power is the disposal of radioactive waste. Often called an “unsolved problem,” many consider it to be the Achilles’ heel of nuclear power. Several states have laws prohibiting construction of nuclear power plants until the waste disposal issue is settled. Yet ironically, there is general agreement among the scientists involved with waste management that radioactive waste disposal is a rather trivial technical problem. Having studied this problem as one of my principal research specialties over the past 15 years, I am thoroughly convinced that radioactive waste from nuclear power operations represents less of a health hazard than waste from any other large technological industry. Clearly there is a long and complex story to tell.


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© Bernard L. Cohen 1990

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  • Bernard L. Cohen

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