Lately, I have become aware of a major problem in our country, the problem of nuclear waste. The problem is this: Once the high-temperature, lethally radioactive fuel for the fission process is exhausted, it turns into low-temperature, lethally radioactive chaff. This chaff, still lethal but now much less useful, has to be stored somewhere, preferably somewhere unoccupied, worthless, and barren. Namely, Nevada.

And thus have I become aware of the problem. This problem isn't so much the problem of the continued production of a highly potent, ecologically destructive poison, but the fact that they want to keep it here. You see, those of us living in Nevada, myself included, don't view ourselves as unpopulated, barren, or worthless. Therefore, I have devised a solution to this problem: We can store the waste in an even larger, more isolated, more empty, more worthless wasteland. Namely, Canada.

My plan is this: We simply place the waste in the back of a minivan, drive across the unguarded Canadian border, empty our cargo into the frozen north, and come back for more. Not only would this plan cost less than Nevada, it would also be less dangerous and face less opposition.

The first reason to go with Canada is the cost. Everything's cheaper in Canada, and our money's worth more there, as well, cutting our costs down to a fraction. Not that there would be many costs, just gasoline, a few repairs, and some beer and maple syrup purchases to appease the natives. The cost-effectiveness of this plan is self-evident; see for yourself which costs more: Excavating a vast, high-tech reinforced concrete storage facility designed to withstand thousands of years of harsh desert winds without corroding; or stuffing the waste in a thermos, driving north, assuring the border inspector you don't have any fruit, driving further north, and chucking said thermos into the nearest snowbank.

The next issue is safety, both short term and long term. In the short term, a Canadian storage site would have less casualties in the case of a major spill. Not only does Canada have only one-tenth of the population of the U.S., but 90% of that population lives within 50 miles of the U.S. border, and you can be sure we'll put more than 50 miles between us and that waste! Canada would also be safer for the absorption of the minor spills which will inevitably occur. After all, there's not much up there for the radiation to damage, just moose, beavers, and maple trees. Sure, there'll be some mutations, some freaks of nature, but Canada needs something to make it more exciting. It might even draw tourists.

And in the long term, Canada is safer. That is to say, Canada is large enough to fully absorb and diffuse any leaked waste long before it can hit the U.S. border. Also, there's no danger of the waste being carried out of Canada by rivers or ocean currents, because liquid water does not exist in Canada; it's all frozen. Therefore, the only way nuclear waste in Canada can find its way back to the U.S. is to be pushed there over the course of a million years at the foot of a south-bound glacier. This, as well, is not a danger, for most tectonic plate projections predict that, by that time, the U.S. and Mexico will have switched places, affording us several thousand more miles of worthless wasteland as a buffer.

Finally, there's the advantage that Canada will put up far less opposition than Nevada. Mainly, this is because Nevada, being part of the U.S., must be informed whenever we dump poison in it. Canada, however, is not a state ( yet ) and requires no such warning, and what they don't know, they can't complain about (regardless of how much it can hurt them). And, even should they discover our scheme, what're they gonna do? Cancel N.A.F.T.A.? Spit in our imported beer? Withdraw the Toronto Blue Jays from the American baseball circuit? In all truth, about the maximum capacity of Canada's retaliatory force to this violation of international rights is to send a mountie to Washington with an angry letter for the president. At least Nevada has a senator.

As you can see, Canada appears to be a much wiser choice than Nevada for our long-range nuclear waste storage needs, because it's cheaper, safer, and easier. However, for the sake of objectivity, I must now state the disadvantages to this plan. First, when we eventually declare Canada our 51st state, we'll have to make sure no one important wanders into the contaminated zone. This means that, rather than developing this land for important and productive uses, we'll have to set it aside as an Indian reservation. Second, American hockey players will be at a distinct disadvantage against the new, super-powerful mutants that will be showing up on Canadian teams in increasing amounts as time goes by. This also means that our plastic reserves will be consumed quicker as we pick up the pace of puck manufacturing to replace those vaporized by these herculean, canuckian freaks. And last, our maple syrup may become a pale green light source.

1997