The city of Oak Ridge, Tenn., is anticipating the arrival of nearly 1,000 tons of nuclear waste from Germany. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a plan in June for an American company to import and burn low-level nuclear waste from Germany.
Don Safer of the Tennessee Environmental Council worries about the same thing. After the Fukushima disaster in Japan, he’s not ready to accept any of EnergySolutions’ guarantees that the process is safe.
“There’s a lot of controversy in burning regular garbage, let alone radioactive garbage,” Safer says.
What is most baffling to Safer is the fact that Tennesseans don’t seem too bothered by it — especially in Oak Ridge.
“I think first and foremost, Oak Ridge has been a company town for a long time and there’s just a great reluctance — and almost a social convention — that you don’t attack the company that feeds us all,” he says.
I’d say pretty much all of America is a company town and has been for a long time. The fact that it’s still referred to as a free country is just proof that Americans have trouble grasping the concept of irony. Free to breathe toxic smoke, or starve.