In 1979, provoked by the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, governors 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-economic 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.
'This well-written book is not only an important contribution to our understanding of nuclear waste disposal, but also to the broader issues of public participation and collective action in our federal system.' Robert Duffy, Professor of Political Science, Colorado State University and author of Nuclear Politics in America: A History and Theory of Government Regulation 'Daniel Sherman's book asks: 'What determines the collective mobilization of local opposition to the siting of nuclear waste facilities?' 'Why do different locales use different collective tactics of opposition?' 'And what effects do varying levels of mobilization and varying tactics have on the implementation for these policies?' Arrived at through a persuasive combination of statistical and case study methods, Sherman's answers to these questions hinge on the political contexts of the sites chosen and on the responses of local officials. In the inevitable clash between technological imperatives and local interests, neither policy-makers nor environmentalists can afford to ignore the lessons of this book.' Sidney Tarrow, Maxwell Upson Professor of Government and Sociology, Cornell University 'Daniel Sherman has provided us with the best analysis of consequences stemming from government by delegation and devolution.He shows how local social movements are like balloons pumped quickly to the intensity of bursting by threat and opportunity, capable of thwarting the policy goals of national, state, and regional authorities.' Theodore J. Lowi, John L. Senior Professor of American Institutions, Cornell University
1. Not Here, Not There, Not Anywhere: An Introduction 2. The Half-Life of Federal Responsibility: The Devolution of LLRW Disposal 3. Glowing Recommendations: Nimby, Environmental Justice and the Framing of LLRW Site Selection 4. Power Generation: Active Opposition to LLRW Site Proposals 5. Critical Masses: Disruptive Versus Conventional Forms of Active Oppositon 6. Radioactive Decay: Implementation Failure 7. Predictable Disintegration and Stability