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Nuclear Waste: Study Inflames Ward Valley Controversy

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Science  15 Mar 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5255, pp. 1488-1489
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5255.1488


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been dragged reluctantly into the dispute over a planned low-level radioactive waste dump at Ward Valley, California. If the Department of Energy gives the nod, Livermore scientists would examine how fast radionuclides deposited decades ago by nuclear tests are permeating the soil at the dump site. The results could indicate whether contaminants from the dump—designed to hold waste from utilities, hospitals, and laboratories—could seep into California's water supply. But supporters of the dump view the study as a delaying tactic, and opponents question Livermore's impartiality.