Meltdown on Long Island

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Science  25 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5457, pp. 1382-1388
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5457.1382

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A tritium leak that led to the closing of the High Flux Beam Reactor (HFBR), a neutron-scattering facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory, was the latest in a long series of environmental problems that pitted scientists against local residents. The bitter 3-year battle preceding its closing last November demonstrated what can happen when researchers become so intent on producing excellent research that they largely ignore community and political concerns. But for the hundreds of Brookhaven and outside researchers who depend on HFBR's steady stream of neutrons, the decision instead represents a victory of cynical politics over scientific truth.