Wasteful Cleanup

What is more dangerous: Radioactive waste from a former government nuclear weapons facility or a rotting wood floor? Apparently, it’s the floor. One is hard pressed to show that radioactivity as such sites poses a serious public health threat, but as, the Washington Post reports, a worker at one of the federal sites recently fell through a rotting floor, prompting a safety review at such sites and costing the federal government about $781 million or more. The post story also reports a history of wasteful spending and fraud associated with the cleanup program.

The federal government is in the process of cleaning these sites as part of the “economic stimulus” package. It’s surely not much of a stimulus to clean these sites given the federal government’s overly expensive approach to such things. Several years back, CEI published a paper offering more affordable and environmentally sound approaches for dealing with the waste at least some of these sites. Maybe it’s time for the feds to take a good look at it and consider the fact that cost-effective solutions are better than bloated “economic stimulus” policies.

Image: Department of Energy image of cleanup at Hanford site.