b'P ROVING THE P RINCIPLEThe issue continued to bubble. TheState Board of Health, whose memberswent on the NRTS tour with the TaskForce as they looked over the BurialGround, the SL-1 burial plot, and theinjection wells, decided they saw nocurrent dangers, but asked the AEC tostop burying waste in the desert. Dr.Theos J. Thompson, an AEC commis-sioner visiting Idaho in November todedicate Argonnes new Zero PowerPhysics Reactor, asserted that contami-nation from buried solid wastes wouldnever reach the aquifer. To questionsabout the practice of injecting low-levelradioactive liquids into the aquifer, hesaid regardless of how it sounds,these planned releases would notendanger people. He described the tinyamount of radioactivity in the releasesin relation to the tremendous diluting INEEL 77-2632power of the aquifer. He had no objec- Radioactivity was in other news. An Environmental monitoring technician collects soiltion to Idaho monitoring the NRTS, but AEC scientist named Arthur Tamplin samples from beneath a storage trench. He holdsobserved that it would duplicate per- from the Lawrence Radiation radiation detector in his right hand.sonnel and equipment already on the Laboratory in California went publicjob. 30 with his view that the AECs radiationexposure standards should be tightened Nevertheless, they recommended waysOn the first day of 1970, President by a factor of ten. He represented one to improve NRTS practices, such asRichard Nixon signed the National of two general views about the hazard increasing the soil barrier above andEnvironmental Policy Act (NEPA). of radiation. One opinion was that below the pits and trenches in theNEPA was a triumph of the growing exposure to radiation was a natural phe- Burial Ground, better control of snowenvironmental movement. It had been nomenon, and that a very low annual melt, and more study of the basalt andinspired partly by frightening examples dose was a normal risk of living. alluvial layers beneath the Burialof air and water pollution so serious Tamplin held the opposing view, that Ground. In addition to monitoring soilthat they threatened public health. any amount of radiation, no matter how and water to confirm the absence ofTherefore, the national press was inter- small, is deleterious to human life. 32 contamination, monitoring also shouldested in discovering further examples. positively affirm that radioactivity hadLater in January, ABC Network News These concerns about the hazards of not migrated beyond the burial area. Itsent a reporter to Idaho Falls to prepare radioactivity helped focus a lively pub- suggested that waste with plutoniuma story on the aquifer for a weekly pro- lic interest on the NRTS. Senator and americium (long-lived transuranicgram called First Tuesday. 31 Churchs four federal agencies weighed elements) should be stored so that itin with their combined report. We find could be removed if necessary. 33no problems that have occurred andthat none are likely, they said.2 0 0'