I was amazed to read Tom Connolly's article (Platform, March 9) about Ward Valley. The argument presented is that research will be stifled if Ward Valley is not opened as a radioactive waste dump.
As an engineer who has worked on the design of nuclear power plants for decades, I cannot remain silent while such an irresponsible concept as shallow-land burial is being promoted. There are alternatives for safely storing radioactive wastes.
The point that a safe storage facility must be provided for radioactive waste is not the issue with Ward Valley. The issue is that the design, location and proposed liability protection are totally unsuitable for long-lived radioactive wastes such as plutonium.
The radioactive waste dump proposed for Ward Valley consists of unlined trenches into which these wastes would be dumped. The site is 1,700 feet in elevation above the Colorado River, about 20 miles away from the Colorado River and the aqueduct supplying Los Angeles. The wastes include isotopes from nuclear power plants that remain hazardous for tens of thousands of years. Isolating radioactive waste from leaking dumps has cost New York, Illinois, and Kentucky hundreds of millions. Why should California taxpayers assume this liability?