The radioactive waste debate in the United States and nuclear technology for peaceful purposes

Terrence Norbert Tehan, Salve Regina University


Many ethical, cultural, and economic concerns have accompanied the rapid growth of Western technology. Nuclear technology in particular has experienced considerable opposition because of its perceived dangers, especially disposal of atomic waste. While this field of science remains in its infancy, many legal, political and ecological groups oppose any further application of nuclear technology--including the significant medical, environmental, and economic benefits possible from a safe and responsible application of nuclear energy. Complete and objective knowledge of this technology is needed to balance a healthy respect for the danger of atomic power with its many advantages. This study focuses on one aspect of nuclear technology that has particularly aroused political and social controversy: nuclear waste. Finding ways of disposing safely of nuclear waste has become an extremely volatile issue because of the popular misconception that there is no permanent solution to this problem. This investigation will demonstrate that the supposedly enduring waste problem has been resolved in several industrial countries that now outstrip the United States in safe commercial applications of nuclear science. This dissertation offers a reasoned and objective contribution to the continuing national debate on the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. This debate becomes more crucial as the nation seeks a dependable substitute for the non-renewable sources of energy now rapidly being exhausted.

Subject Area

Nuclear physics|Energy|Environmental engineering|Environmental science

Recommended Citation

Tehan, Terrence Norbert, "The radioactive waste debate in the United States and nuclear technology for peaceful purposes" (1998). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI9834298.