Anatomy of a nuclear waste site death Centerior Energy is mystified. Until June 26, Ohio gladly was on its way to hosting a low-level radioactive waste disposal site. Then suddenly at a three-hour meeting, 13 years of planning crashed and burned.
On that day, the Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission voted to derail development of a low-level waste disposal facility in Ohio. The commission represents the Midwest Compact, which comprises Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. Thus, siting efforts were shut down not only in Ohio, but in all six states.
Michael J. Lumpe, spokesperson for Centerior Energy, questions why it happened. "It doesn't make sense, the actions are not supported by the reasons," Lumpe observed.
The project had won the blessing of Ohio Gov. George Voinovich, plus bipartisan support from the Ohio Legislature. In fact, in 1992, when Ohio had agreed to become the host, editorial writers from various newspapers had applauded the idea of a central facility in the Buckeye State to prevent the waste - mostly radioactive clothing, tools and lab supplies - from piling up at hundreds of nuclear plants, research labs and hospitals.
So what caused the project's demise? The official explanation cites increasing disposal costs, the cost of site development, declining waste disposal volumes and improved waste practices. Nevertheless, some want to know what the real reasons were.