Points of View: How Should Nuclear Waste Be Stored?

Yucca Mountain was selected by Congress to be the location for the first U.S. permanent storage site for waste produced by nuclear power plants. Following protests by Nevada residents and environmental activists, these plans were dropped in 2010.

Nuclear fuel is used to generate electricity at power plants. When nuclear fuel rods can no longer serve this function, they are classified as high level radioactive waste. High-level radioactive waste includes solids, liquids, and gases containing a high concentration of radioactive isotopes that take approximately 100,000 years to decay. While nuclear energy is clean energy that can easily provide power for large cities without producing any air pollution, nuclear waste poses a major disposal problem.

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Points of View: Pipelines and Oil Sands

oil sands

Oil sands are mixtures of oil, clay, sand, and water. Many large deposits of oil sands are located in Canada.

The world needs oil. Oil is best known for its use as a fuel, but it also is used to make plastics, lubricants, and many chemicals. For decades, oil has been inexpensive and has been treated as an almost inexhaustible resource.

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Points of View: Genetically Modified Foods

researcher

A scientist examines experimental samples ofgenetically modified fruit trees.

Genetically modified (GM) foods have been on sale in the world’s supermarkets since 1994. We do not recognize them because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require that GM foods be labeled as such.
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Points of View: The Three Gorges Dam

China’s Yangtze River is the third longest river in the world after the Nile and the Amazon. The Yangtze River flows through the Three Gorges region of central China, which is famous for its natural beauty and historical sites. For thousands of years, the area’s sheer cliffs have inspired paintings and poems. This idyllic region seems like the sort of place that would be protected as a park or reserve. But in fact, it is the site for the Three Gorges Dam—the largest hydroelectric dam project in the world. Now that the dam is fully operational, the Yangtze River forms a reservoir that is 595 km (370 mi) long—as long as Lake Superior. In other words, the reservoir is about as long as the distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco!

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