Mr. Yuck Looms Over Great Lakes

President Barack Obama just took the big green Mr. Yuck sticker off Yucca Mountain in Nevada. For years, the US Congress has considered depositing the nation’s spent nuclear fuel in the Nevada dessert, but President Obama is calling for more study and a better solution. This move fulfills a campaign promise he made and scratches the powerful Harry Reid’s back. But at the same time, the Great Lakes remain in peril of becoming polluted with leaky toxic waste.

“We are drifting toward a permanent policy of keeping extremely toxic waste next to the Great Lakes, and that cannot stand,” U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) told the Chicago Tribune.

Illinois has seven nuclear plants and more than 7100 tons of spent fuel being stored in Zion near Lake Michigan and also along the Illinois, Rock and Mississippi Rivers. The state has the largest stockpile of spent fuel among the 35 states that have nuclear reactors. What may be even worse, as the power companies run out of storage space they are building above ground casks to take on the waste. At Zion those casks are only a little ways from Lake Michigan, according to the Chicago Tribune.

A better solution needs to be found not just for Nevada but also for our region and our nation. Protecting the majority of this nation’s surface fresh water and her tributaries should be a priority in this century. Lets not go back to the past when we left a legacy of toxic pollutants in our beautiful fresh water – a toxic legacy that we are still struggling to clean up today.

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