Disposing of The Nuclear Age

The cold war has left the U.S. with mountains of hot garbage and no permanent site for storing it

President Bush may have struck a blow for world peace with his nuclear- weapons-reduction speech last month, but he has also handed a heavy burden to the atomic-arms industry. By the latest calculation, there are over 3,000 warheads headed for early retirement, containing about 25 tons of enriched uranium and 10 tons of plutonium -- both radioactive and both difficult to dispose of. Moreover, the Department of Energy's Pantex bomb-assembly facility near Amarillo, Texas, which was expecting to build some 3,500 warheads over the next few years, suddenly has to reverse gears and begin dismantling weapons. Says Thomas Cochran, a nuclear-arms...

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