One of science’s strongest abilities is to be able to reduce uncertainties in a problem. If left to itself, science usually does this very well. But it’s rarely left to itself. Science exists within the larger framework of society and has to deal with the realities of politics, economics, history and even religion. Nowhere is this more obvious then with nuclear waste disposal. For this problem, the question we want to know with a fair degree of certainty is: If we put nuclear waste in this spot, what’s likely to happen to it in 10,000 or 100,000 years? Will it contaminate the environment before it decays away? What are the risks to humans and the ecosphere? Unfortunately, even though we in the scientific community have answered these questions pretty well, our nuclear waste program is presently in shambles. the best way to reduce uncertainty is to pick a situation that has few variables or where those variables have values approaching zero, which is what the NAS did when they chose Permian Salt. The Atomic Energy Commission, and later the Department of Energy, searched for a suitable site in Permian Salt and, after several failed attempts, was invited by the local community in Carlsbad, New Mexico to investigate their proposed site.
Forbes 14th May 2019 read more »