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CAL RAD FORUM PARTICIPANTS UNDERSCORE IMPORTANCE OF WARD VALLEY TO CALIFORNIA ECONOMY

 CAL RAD FORUM PARTICIPANTS UNDERSCORE IMPORTANCE
 OF WARD VALLEY TO CALIFORNIA ECONOMY
 LAFAYETTE, Calif., Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- In its ninth annual conference held Monday, Nov. 25, in Tempe, Ariz., members of the Cal Rad forum explored issues surrounding the disposal of low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) in California, the host state of the Southwestern Compact whose members include Arizona, North and South Dakota.
 Dr. Alan Pasternak, the technical director for Cal Rad, opened the conference by underscoring the importance of proceeding with the licensing of the proposed LLRW facility at the remote desert site in Ward Valley, Calif. As of January 1993, California will lose access to out-of-state disposal facilities in Nevada, Washington and South Carolina, and must by law, establish a facility of its own for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste.
 Pasternak emphasized the need for continued use of radioisotopes in medical treatment and diagnosis, the burgeoning biotechnology industry, and numerous university-based research programs. "The appropriate disposal of low-level radioactive waste produced by these vital medical and industrial applications should be regarded as a part of our infrastructure, like roads, transportation systems, sewers and garbage disposal," Pasternak said. "It is folly to think that low-level waste can be safely stored on-site indefinitely at the some 600 locations throughout California where it is produced. We wouldn't think of doing it with sewage, garbage or hazardous materials. LLRW must be disposed of at a common, remote and consistently monitored facility."
 Pasternak went on to discuss the economic implications of a failure to proceed at Ward Valley. "A recent L.A. Times editorial said that one out of four California firms is contemplating out-of- state relocation because of taxes and anti-business policies of state and local governments. Considering the rapid growth of the biotechnology industry, I believe we will also face the departure of many of these firms if the state fails to provide for a necessary aspect of our infrastructure -- the ability to dispose of low-level waste.
 "Think of what the computer industry in Silicon Valley did to help revitalize the California economy some years back. The biotechnology industry is its direct parallel in the 1990's. There are nearly 100 biotechnology companies in the San Diego area alone. It is our newest big high-tech growth industry, and holds out some real economic hope for the state. The vast majority of these biotech firms produce LLRW, but have little or no ability to store it on-site. Several companies have already contacted the governor's office to say that without a California disposal facility, they will be forced to cease operations in 1993.
 "California must make the kind of decisions which prevent business flight from our state, not provoke it. The Ward Valley project has met all environmental requirements, and the service it provides will help protect our area's economic health. It deserves the support of the public and elected officials alike."
 -0- 11/25/91
 /CONTACT: Phyllis Gibson of Cal Rad, 213-874-9080/ CO: Cal Rad ST: California, Arizona IN: SU:


EH-CH -- LA043 -- 7111 11/25/91 20:48 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 25, 1991
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