How many chest x-rays is that?

As I was getting ready for work this morning, Loki was listening to NPR, and a story came on about the EPA changing the rules for radiation levels at the proposed nuclear waste site at Yucca Mountain. I said to Loki "don't tell me they've decided that people who live near a nuclear waste dump can handle more exposure."

But yes, that is the case - the now ironically named Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a standard that would expose residents of Yucca Mountain to anannual radiation equivalent to a chest x-ray. Or so they say. Energy policy lobbyists are thrilled with the announced change, which makes me very nervous for the people who live in Yucca Mountain.

The EPA says that the average American is exposed to 300-400 million millirems each year, and they want to allow the nuclear dump to release no more than 15 million millirems annually - that's in addition to the 300-400 million the people in that are are already exposed to.

At least, that's the standard for the first 10,000 years. After that, the dump can release 350 millirems into the atmosphere - more than doubling the amount the people of Yucca Mountain are exposed to - and UNLIMITED AMOUNTS of radiation into the groundwater.

Maybe they've decided that's acceptable because by then, no one will want to live anywhere near Yucca Mountain, or that no one can live near Yucca Mountain because that's where you get cancer and die. Or maybe they figure that Rapture's gotta come before then, so who gives a shit?

The EPA is accepting 60 days of public comment, so here is the info on how and where to make a comment.

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