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Nuke Waste Repository Could
Turn Moon Into Wasteland

Reno, Nev. ( — President Bush blasted a plan unveiled Thursday that calls for depositing nuclear waste on the Moon, arguing the radioactive material could turn the lunar surface into a vast, uninhabitable wasteland.

"Imagine a place where nothing would grow, where naturally occurring life would be nonexistent, where humans would only be able to survive by wearing special suits and breathing through air tanks," said Bush, who favors Yucca Mountain, Nev., as a national waste repository.

"If this idea of burying nuclear waste on the Moon comes to pass, then what you'd be left with up there is nothing but a great big lifeless hunk of rock."

The lunar idea, proposed by Sherwin Gormly, an environmental engineer for Reno, Nev.-based Tetra Tech EM Inc., would carry waste to the Moon on missiles that, if they escaped Earth intact, would theoretically drive into the lunar surface and bury the cargo. Because the Moon has no hydrosphere, Gormly insisted the problem of waste migration — the contamination of groundwater — would be eliminated. Bush, however, reasoned that the absence of water would only make detection more difficult.

"In Nevada, we'll know if the water's contaminated 'cause it will show up in tests," he said. "But on the Moon, we can't test it. So we'll never really know for sure."


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