Geologist's Advice

Short Takes

A Harvard geology professor, speaking this week at a panel discussion on radioactive waste disposal, recommended criteria for nuclear waste disposal sites that will be selected in coming years.

Raymond Siever, professor of Geological Sciences, said a nuclear waste disposal site "should be an area with granite deposits, without volcanoe and earthquake activity, and with a low population."

Growing interest in the issue of nuclear waste disposal prompted congressional legislation in January calling for the establishment of two high-level nuclear waste disposal sites by 1990. Ralph Stein, deputy director of the geological repository program at the Department of Energy, said yesterday sites in 17 states are being considered.

Siever has served as a consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency under the Carter Administration, and to the congressional Office of Technology Assessment.

Stein added that states with big granite deposits currently being considered in New England include Maine. New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts.

Siever said that the presence of the sites "should neither be frightening or accepted as a matter of course" to communities near the proposed sites. He made his remarks at an annual meeting of the New England Newspaper Association.

He added that what he is "trying to do is to see to it that whatever government decisions are made are the best possible decisions, based on proper evaluations."

Public hearings will begin within the next two weeks at sites now being considered in Nevada. Washington, and Virginia, Stein said.