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May 26, 1982 - Image 6

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Michigan Daily, 1982-05-26

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Opinion
Page 6b Wednesday, May 26, 1982 The Michigan Daily

The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCII, No. 16-S
Ninety-two Years of Editorial Freedom
Edited and managed by student
at the University of M ichigan
Foolish national
pride kills
NOW THAT THE British are firmly
established on the Falkland Islands, few
expect negotiations to resume until one side
wins or there is a stalemate. By refusing to
negotiate with a foothold on the islands,
however, Britain is guilty of the same arrogan-
ce Argentina displayed when it invaded in
April.
Hundreds have already died in the fight over
islands that have no value to either nation ex-
cept to bolster their chauvinistic national pride.
All the flag waving in the world will not bring
back a nine-year-old's father from the icy seas
of the South Atlantic.
But weren't both sides fighting for their own
worthy cause? Perhaps Argentine calls for an
end to colonialism or Britain's assertion that
armed forces must not be used to solve conflicts
were just in their own right. The landing of
British forces on the islands has demonstrated,
however, that both sides have made their points
and should return to peaceful negotiating.
The stark realities of war have just begun to
sink in on the British and Argentine people.
Perhaps anthem singing civilians will again
remember that soldiers are not just instrumen-
ts of war, but people who have wives and
children.
With hundreds more lives at stake, gover-
nments and civilians can soften their war cry
and return their diplomats to the negotiating
table. A palatable political solution is perhaps
now more possible than before the crisis began.
Both forces are now on the islands, thus en-
suring fairer bargaining positions than were
possible before.
The two nations were close to an interim
solution before negotiations were broken off.
Now, with the two growling armies closing on
each other, the prospects for a peaceful solution
to the conflict grow bleaker with each barren
hill they climb in search of each other. And
despite boastful British claims, the massive
battle likely to ensue will not be easy and in-
volve the loss of many lives from both sides.
The Falkland Islands have neither the
strategic nor moral importance to justify the
blood being spilled on and around them. And
although the fighting has cast a shadow over
the negotiating table, the only beacon of hope
for a just and lasting settlement remains in
New York at the United Nations-if only Britain
and Argentina chose to open their eyes and see
it.

Sinking nuclearwaste

By James Ridgeway
The U.S. government once
again is taking a serious look at
the ocean bottom off California
and North Carolina as safe and
permanent depositing spots for
low- and intermediate-level
nuclear waste.
The current proposal takes the
form of an environmental impact
statement under preparation by
the Department of the Navy for
permanent "decommissioning"
of up to 100 nuclear submarines
over the next 30 years by sinking
them at the rate of three or four a
year in graveyards 160 miles
southwest of Cape Mendocino,
Calif., and 200 miles southeast of
Cape Hatteras, N.C. The Navy
would first remove any nuclear
fuel from the submarines.
THE NAVY'S decision to draw
up an environmental impact
statement, the first step in direc-
ting a policy, comes at a time
when the Environmental Protec-
tion Agency is redrafting
regulations covering ocean dum-
ping. Early EPA drafts would
weaken regulations substantially
and, in the eyes of environme-
ntalists, bring the Navy's scheme
within the scope of the law.
The Navy insists that creating
an underseas graveyard for
submarines is no risk since the
contaminants left in the decom-
missioned, defueled reactor plan-
ts give off only low-level
radiation. The Union of Concer-
ned Scientists, however, disputes

these claims and says the waste
materials in submarines fall into
a category somewhere between
low- and high-level nuclear
waste. It claims there may be lit-
tle danger from one or two sub-
marines sunk off shore, but that a
policy which envisions up to 100
submarines, plus other kinds of
wastes, is another matter.
Treatment of low-level waste.
traditionally has been somewhat
casual. Most low-level wastes are
simply dumped in shallow burial
trenches. From the late, 1940s
through the mid-1960s, the
Atomic Energy Commission
dumped large amounts of low-
level wastes in the Pacific off the
coast of California. European
nations dumped nuclear wastes
in the North Atlantic.
FOR THE LAST 12 years,
however, ocean dumping 'off
the United States has been
precluded through a restricted
permit system.
Other schemes for waste
disposal, meanwhile, have been
pursued. But none of these has
worked out. The lasting effort by
the military to bury high-level
nuclear waste in salt structures
below the earth's surface in New
Mexico backfired when it was
discovered that the salt struc-
tures were full of water. The
water could erode containers
holding the nuclear waste, per-
mitting them to seep out into the
earth.
Meanwhile, the wastes from
nuclear power plants are building

up. For the moment they are
stored in spent-fuel pools nearby
the plants. But these pools are
becoming increasingly crowded.
The current plan is to establish a
new sort of intermediate storage
space for utility fuel in the form
of Away-From-Reactor-Sites
which can hold the spent fuel for
about 40 years. By that time,
permanent disposal perhaps will
have been worked out.
AS FOR LOW-LEVEL wastes,
the current government program
calls for creation of interstate
compacts to work out regional
methods for disposal. In the Nor-
theast, which accounts for nearly
half of all the low-level wastes,
there has been virtually no
progress.
While little progress has been
made in disposing of either high-
level or low-level nuclear waste,
an entirely, new program, sym-
bolized by the Navy submarines,
is entering the picture. That is the
decommissioning not only of
submarines but of the nuclear
power plants themselves - and
beginning in this decade, nuclear
power plants will begin to be
decommissioned.
Ridgeway wrote this article
for the Pacific News Service.

Sinclair
THE. ONL SURE THINGrS IN LIFE....,
NEGATIVE PATENT-CAE -REVENUE ENHANCE ENT
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