Muller Essay

Nuclear Waste: Small Potatoes

      In Richard Muller’s article “Nuclear Waste” he suggests that nuclear waste storage isn’t as large of a concern as one might initially suggest.   He explains that in order for hazardous nuclear waste to pose a danger there would have to be 1% or greater chance for it to leak and contaminate our society.   He explores the idea that there is a greater chance of being exposed to the same radioactive material by drinking Los Angeles’ tap water.   Muller even declares that, “I find the dangers of storing our waste at Yucca Mountain to be small compared to the dangers of not doing so, and significantly smaller than many other dangers we ignore” (208).   I persist that Muller is absolutely correct with his assertion; the current focus should not be on potential leakages of a secure storage site but on the poisons we pump into our bodies at alarming rates.

As a teenager I lived in Las Vegas, Nevada; during this time the debate of Yucca Mountain was a hot button issue. The topic nuclear waste was debated on the news, in school, and amongst locals.   Most individuals I knew were up in arms over the transport and storage of nuclear waste into our state. However, this was considerably small potatoes compared to the obesity epidemic sweeping the state.   In the fast paced environment of Las Vegas residents are all about getting tasty food quick.   Many people fail to acknowledge that delicious food isn’t necessarily good for their overall health. As a society, we are consuming a large amount of material that is hazardous to our health.   We are far more likely to die of cancer, heart disease, or diabetes from the food that we eat than we are to die from the hypothetical nuclear waste leaking out of Yucca Mountain.   Muller puts it simply, “Raise the standards, increase the safety, do more research, study the problem in greater depth and in the process you will improve safety and frighten the public” (213).   If we applied these same concepts to...