What does the National Academy of Sciences have to say about DOE's 'Long-term Environmental Stewardship' program for its legacy waste sites?
Contamination has already migrated off some sites and there is a potential for this happening at more contaminated sites.
- It is not known what the long-term behavior of contaminants in the environment will be if the systems devised to contain it disappear or fail.
- Complete elimination of unacceptable risks to people and the environment will not be achieved now or in the foreseeable future.
- The government can try to keep certain areas off limits, but it does not have the technology, money or management techniques to prevent contamination from spreading.
- Without constant attention stewardship measures imposed today are not likely to remain effective for as long as residual contamination presents risks.
- "Stewardship" (covering waste with dirt and instituting institutional controls) of waste sites will be difficult if not impossible to achieve.
- At many sites hazardous wastes will remain posing risks to people and the environment for tens or even thousands of years.
- No plan developed today is likely to remain protective for the duration of the hazards.
For the full report:
National Academy of Sciences:
Long-Term Institutional Management of U.S. Department of Energy Legacy Waste Sites
To order: National Academies Press or 1-888-624-8373 in the US