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Nuclear waste piles up with no disposal plan

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Tens of thousands of tons of potentially lethal radioactive waste have been piling up across the nation for more than a generation, but the federal government has yet to decide how to get rid of it permanently.

In short, the country's political leaders are no closer to a safe, permanent disposal plan for nuclear waste than they were a generation ago, when nuclear power became widespread and the Cold War was in full swing.

The nation's accumulated 70,000 tons of extremely radioactive, "high level" waste — uranium and plutonium — has sat in "temporary" storage in 35 states since at least the 1950s.

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