In 1979, provoked by the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, goverrs of states hosting disposal facilities for low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) refused to accept additional shipments. The resulting shortage of disposal sites for wastes spurred Congress to devolve responsibility for establishing new, geographically diffuse LLRW disposal sites to states and regional compacts, with siting authorities often employing socio-ecomic and political data to target communities that would give little resistance to their plans. The communities, however, were far from compliant, organizing nearly 1000 opposition events that ended up blocking the implementation of any new disposal sites. Sherman provides comprehensive coverage of this opposition, testing hypotheses regarding movement mobilization and opposition strategy by analyzing the frequency and disruptive qualities of activism. In the process, he bridges applied policy questions about hazardous waste disposal with broader questions about the dynamics of social movements and the intergovernmental politics of policy implementation. The issues raised in this book are sure to be renewed as interest grows in nuclear power and the disposal of the resulting waste remains uncertain.
Daniel J. Sherman (Ph.D., Cornell University) is the Luce-funded Professor of Environmental Policy and Decision Making at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. He also directs the university's Sound Policy Institute, which strives to facilitate innovative policy solutions to environmental problems in the South Puget Sound Region.