Selected by Library Journal as one of the hundred best books in science and technology for 1985. This book is an outgrowth of a series of articles that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer in November 1983. For eighteen months, the authors traveled some 20,000 miles, interviewing dozens of people and assembling more than 125,000 pages of documents. These included local, state, and federal government reports, state and federal court records, corporate files, congressional hearing transcripts, scientific studies, and internal memoranda of public agencies and private businesses. The resulting newspaper series provoked a much broader reaction than we had anticipated. In response to requests for copies of the articles, more than 25,000 reprints were sent to individuals and organizations in more than forty states and several foreign countries. Many of those who wrote urged the authors to expand the newspaper series into a book. In doing so, they updated the material and added new information, including sections on military waste, foreign reprocessing, and uranium mill tailings. We were tempted to delve into other areas, such as the design and construction of reactors and the economics of nuclear power. But we focused instead on waste-the amount produced, past efforts to manage it, and the politics of its disposal.