Icelandic whaling shipsFeb. 15, 1980: Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan tells the Burlington Free Press of Vermont, "All the waste from a nuclear power plant in a year can be stored under a desk." The average amount of nuclear waste from a commercial reactor is 30 tons per year.

Feb. 15, 1982: A fierce winter storm topples the submersible drilling rig Ocean Ranger off the Newfoundland coast, claiming 84 lives.

Feb. 15, 2002: U.S. President George W. Bush signs off on a recommendation to make Yucca Mountain, Nev., the nation’s nuclear waste dump. His successor, Barack Obama, pulls funding for the project eight years later.

Feb. 15, 2009: Facing economic collapse, Iceland re-enters the commercial whaling industry. The nation draws international protests by announcing its plans to resume whaling (ships at right) and to sell the whale meat to Japan.

Photo: adie reed/Flickr

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.