CAT Critical Reasoning Practice question with Solution 49

It is repeatedly claimed that the dumping of nuclear waste poses no threat to people living nearby. If this claim could be made with certainty, there would be no reason for not locating sites in areas of dense population. But the policy of dumping nuclear waste only in the more sparsely populated regions indicates, at the very least, some misgiving about safety on the part of those responsible for policy.

Which one of the following, if true, would most seriously weaken the argument?

[A]. Evaluation plans in the event of an accident could not be guaranteed to work perfectly except where the population is small.
[B]. In the event of an accident, it is certain that fewer people would be harmed in a sparsely populated than in a densely populated area.
[C]. Dumping of nuclear waste poses fewer economic and bureaucratic problems in sparsely populated than in densely populated areas.
[D]. There are dangers associated with chemical waste, and it, too, is dumped away from areas of dense population.
[E]. Until there is no shred of doubt that nuclear dumps are safe, it makes sense to situate them where they pose the least threat to the public.
Answer: C

Because waste gets disposed of in less populated areas, those who are responsible for dumping are not as fearless about its effects as they claim. This assumes that there is no plausible alternate explanation for the disposal pattern. (C) weakens the argument by giving a reasonable alternative Explanation: Dumping nuclear waste in less populated areas poses fewer economic and bureaucratic problems than dumping in areas of denser population.

(A) and (B) are au contraire choices. The acknowledgment that there could be an accident indicates that nuclear waste does, in fact, pose some threat to people.

(D) is an irrelevant comparison. Pointing out chemical dangers won’t show that nuclear waste is safe; they’re unrelated.

(E) supports the author’s argument. It seems to be a statement of what the policy makers really believe, but just won’t admit.

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