Environment: Waste Dump Wanted

California's reputation as a trendsetter has been enhanced: while most states fight to keep nuclear-waste dumps out, three Mojave Desert towns are fighting to get one. The wastes are "low level" -- contaminated lab glassware, protective clothing and the like, rather than power-plant residues. What appeals to the depressed towns of Needles, Baker and Trona is the potential economic fallout: about 40 jobs and $2 million a year in taxes and fees.

Under federal law, all states must establish low-level waste sites or have access to regional dumps by 1992. So far, only the Californians are enthusiastic, but that may change...

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