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N-waste fear is unfounded

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Don A. Campbell wrote that radioactive wastes are being handled safely. George F. Hamilton responded with a diatribe about the radioactive contamination at Hanford.

There was a time, before the environmentalism age, when radioactive material was handled carelessly. The nuclear industry now has oversight and watchdog committees and activists camped on its tall, watching its every move. That was the way it was for us at Dugway after the sheep incident and is the case in the destruction of that mess of nerve agent in Tooele County.Like the SLOC scandal, environmental scandal brings about a reform-or-else mandate. Hanford's waste problems are the sins of a previous generation being visited upon this generation. The question of the safe handling of radioactive wastes now, in the environmentalism age and in the Utah situation, is what is important.

The wastes intended for storage in Skull Valley are metal rods encapsulated in inert metal and packaged in a super strong container. If the rods are ever reprocessed, it will be at another place and another time.

Just supposing there was an accident that spilled some rods. The rods would not sprout legs or wings and head for Salt Lake City. Cleanup crews would be there immediately with instruments that can detect even minuscule radioactive contamination. Earthquakes in Skull Valley would be no problem as an earthquake isn't going to toss the containers 20-30 feet up in the air.

The fear that the radioactive storage in Skull Valley will become permanent is worse than unfounded; it is a manufactured bugaboo foisted upon the people of Utah.

As a Utahn, I am embarrassed by the SLOC scandal but not ashamed. That was not my doing or the doing of the people of Utah. I hang my head in shame, though, because of the reaction of Utah to the temporary storage of radioactive wastes in Skull Valley. The finger of shame points to the people, the press and the government of Utah.

If those wastes are safe where they are, they are safe out here, too. If they are unsafe, it is better that they be unsafe to a few dozen people out here than to numerous people back East. Our union of states is for the common good.

Volney Wallace