Nuclear Waste in the Pacific: Perceptions of the Risks

Childs, Iraphne R.W.
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 1984]
This dissertation examines the problem of the disposal of high-level nuclear waste in the Pacific region. There is a consensus of scientific opinion that the technical difficulties in waste disposal can be overcome. The most acceptable solution seems to be the multi-barrier approach for deep land-based geologic disposal. A questionnare survey on the perception of nuclear and other hazards, conducted with student populations in Japan and Australia, and a survey of reporting of nuclear "events" in Pacific newspapers over the period 1946 to the 1980s, reveal that the image of nuclear weapons dominates public views on the risks associated with waste disposal in Australia, Japan, and the Pacific Islands. The problem of finding a suitable site for a nuclear waste disposal facility is to a large extent political. The capacity of anti-nuclear groups to influence waste disposal policies in Australia, Japan, and the Pacific Islands is examined. Current public attitudes toward nuclear waste disposal will delay the further development of activities connected with the nuclear fuel cycle, but this may change over time if the connection between commercial nuclear power and nuclear weapons can be severed more effectively. The most urgent problem in the region is the waste from the ambitious nuclear power programs of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Regional co-operation in the waste management field among these three countries, leading to a disposal facility within East Asian territory, should be possible, and would demonstrate a willingess on the part of the East Asians to accept fully the risks, as well as the benefits of electricity generated from nuclear power.
PhD University of Hawaii at Manoa 1984
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 322–341).
radioactive waste disposal, environmental aspects, Pacific Ocean, radioactive pollution, nuclear waste management, high-level radioactive wastes, underground disposal, site selection, political aspects, radioactive materials
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