National Geographic : 1989 Apr
Deadly by-products of the bomb It's the problem that won't go away-at least not for the millennia it will take certain radio active isotopes to decay. With poisonous wastes piling up at weapons plants across the U. S. (map above), the search is on for safe ways to dispose of millions of tons of spent fuel, high-level wastes, and other radioactive by-products. Permanent waste-disposal sites may take decades to prepare. In the meantime cleanup is needed for some 40 years' worth of waste stored improperly due to lax safety prac tices or obsolete facilities. Expanded hurriedly to producethe atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki,the Hanford Site in Washington (above right)is currently the nation's largestrepository of nuclearwaste.