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FEATURE ARTICLE

Managing the Environmental Legacy of U.S. Nuclear-Weapons Production

Although the waste from America's arms buildup will never be "cleaned up," human and environmental risks can be reduced and managed

Kevin Crowley, John F. Ahearne

Figure 1. Waste generated by AmericaÆs massive nuclear-arms buildup . . .Click to Enlarge Image

The U.S. government has spent $70 billion over almost 13 years struggling with the environmental legacy of atomic-bomb development and the Cold War arms race. Yet the goal of "cleaning up" nuclear-weapons production facilities and waste sites is proving elusive for a national complex that includes over 5,000 facilities located at 16 major sites and more than 100 smaller sites. Crowley and Ahearne use the work of independent expert committees appointed by the National Research Council to offer a personal and unofficial assessment of recent "cleanup" efforts and suggest a new focus on reducing and managing the human and environmental risks associated with the waste of America's arms buildup.


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