, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 45-61
Date: 11 Oct 2012

Votes and lab coats: democratizing scientific research and science policy

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On December 19, 1984, the US Department of Energy selected, based on a 10-year research project, ten long-term geologic repository sites for 70,000 mt of nuclear waste. A year later, after taking into account expert reports, President Ronald Reagan reduced the candidate sites to three: Hanford, Washington; Deaf Smith County, TX; and Yucca Mountain in Nevada. In 1987, Congress directed the Department of Energy to study only Yucca Mountain. Despite strong opposition from the people of Nevada, environmentalists, and some senators in Congress, President George W. Bush signed a resolution in July 23, 2002 that gave the go-ahead to establish a nuclear waste facility at Yucca Mountain. The Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the US Geological Survey experts investigated, and often had strong disagreements about, issues regarding the safety of the facility and the standard levels for radiation emission. In 2006, the project budget was drastically cut. The Department ...