Proposed dump site a danger to Tucson

Arizona Daily Wildcat


The proposed site for a new nuclear waste dump that will accept some of the University of Arizona's radioactive waste is one that should not be developed.

Even though it is in Ward Valley, Calif., it is one that could potentially affect the safety of water supplies for the Tucson area.

The Colorado River supplies Arizona and California with water. Major cities such as Phoenix and Los Angeles use its resources. That is why it is important this water not be tampered with, though other polluting factors may have already played their parts.

So the facility needs to be relocated.

It is understandable that in the day and age of nuclear power and medicine nuclear waste would be an important societal issue.

The current plan calls for the disposal site to be located 18 miles from the upper Colorado River and near an aquifer underneath Ward Valley.

Questions need to be asked concerning this proposal.

How could such a plan be brought about? Are the planners considering every factor when they prepare such a site? Has U.S. Ecology, the company that could build the proposed site, improved its storage containers, which have leaked in the past? And finally, how can the university support such an effort, which, in the long run, could potentially harm those in Tucson?

Molly McKasson, Tucson city councilwoman, has even questioned the silence of Tucson's leaders concerning this proposal, which she views as a health threat to citizens of Tucson.

Academic institutions would contribute 0.11 percent of the waste for this facility, but they should take responsibility for where they put their waste. Academic institutions, such as the UA, should understand better than any other entity that they must take measures to think of the public's safety. Through this proposal, the university has not held up to its public responsibility.

The subject of CAP water has already thrown the city of Tucson into an upheaval, with the county and the city having discussions about the entire "water" situation. But now this proposal could make matters worse.

More disconcerting than the future water problems the proposed plan could bring to Tucson is the fact that nuclear waste is on this campus; that's an even scarier thought.

Staff Editorial