53 MILLION GALLONS OF NUCLEAR WASTE, STORAGE TANKS YEARS PAST THEIR EXPIRATION, SHODDY STORAGE MATERIAL, DRY DOCK FOR 114 SPENT NUCLEAR SUBMARINE REACTORS, AND OVER 200 SQUARE MILES OF CONTAMINATED GROUNDWATER!
WELCOME TO THE HANFORD, WASHINGTON NUCLEAR WASTE SITE!
Nuclear Waste Site in Washington State Leaking Again
June 25, 2013
The U.S. Energy Department said workers at Washington state's Hanford Nuclear Reservation detected higher radioactivity levels under tank AY-102 during a routine inspection Thursday.
THIS IS AN ONGOING SERIOUS AND DEADLY PROBLEM, ONE THAT COULD MAKE FUKUSHIMA LOOK SMALL IN COMPARISON...
HANFORD ALSO HAD THE WORLD'S FIRST PLUTONIUM REACTORS, YOU SEE, AND HANFORD IS A MASSIVE WASTE SITE.
In September 1942, the Army Corps of Engineers placed the newly formed Manhattan Project under the command of General Leslie R. Groves, charging him with the construction of industrial-size plants for manufacturing plutonium and uranium. Groves recruited the DuPont Company to be the prime contractor for the construction of the plutonium production complex. DuPont recommended that it be located far away from the existing uranium production facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The ideal site was described by these criteria:
A large and remote tract of land
A "hazardous manufacturing area" of at least 12 by 16 miles (19 by 26 km)
Space for laboratory facilities at least 8 miles (13 km) from the nearest reactor or separations plant
No towns of more than 1,000 people closer than 20 miles (32 km) from the hazardous rectangle
No main highway, railway, or employee village closer than 10 miles (16 km) from the hazardous rectangle
A clean and abundant water supply
A large electric power supply
Ground that could bear heavy loads.
In December 1942, Groves dispatched his assistant Colonel Franklin T. Matthias and DuPont engineers to scout potential sites. Matthias reported that Hanford was "ideal in virtually all respects," except for the farming towns of White Bluffs and Hanford.
Established in 1943 as a vital part of the Manhattan Project in the town of Hanford in south-central Washington, the site was home to the B Reactor, the first full-scale PLUTONIUM production reactor in the world. Plutonium manufactured at the site was used in the first nuclear bomb, tested at the Trinity site, and in Fat Man, the bomb detonated over Nagasaki, Japan.
During the Cold War, the project was expanded to include nine nuclear reactors and five large plutonium processing complexes, which produced plutonium for most of the 60,000 weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
The weapons production reactors were decommissioned at the end of the Cold War, but the decades of manufacturing left behind 53 million US gallons (200,000 m3) of high-level radioactive waste, an additional 25 million cubic feet (710,000 m3) of solid radioactive waste, 200 SQUARE MILES (520 km2) of contaminated groundwater beneath the site and occasional discoveries of UNDOCUMENTED contaminations that "slow the pace and raise the cost of cleanup".
The Hanford site represents 2/3rds of the nation's high-level radioactive waste by volume. Today, Hanford is the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States and is the focus of the nation's largest environmental cleanup. While most of the current activity at the site is related to the cleanup project, Hanford also hosts a commercial nuclear power plant, the Columbia Generating Station.
The Hanford Site occupies 586 square miles (1,518 km2) in Benton County, Washington (centered on 46°38′51″N 119°35′55″WCoordinates: 46°38′51″N 119°35′55″W), roughly equivalent to half of the total area of Rhode Island. This land is currently uninhabited and is closed to the general public. It is a desert environment receiving under 10 inches of annual precipitation, covered mostly by shrub-steppe vegetation. The Columbia River flows along the site for approximately 50 miles (80 km), forming its northern and eastern boundary. The original site was 670 square miles (1,740 km2) and included buffer areas across the river in Grant and Franklin counties.
Some of this land has been returned to private use and is now covered with orchards and irrigated fields.
[DO THESE ORCHARDS AND FIELDS PRODUCE "GLOW-IN-THE-DARK" FRUITS AND VEGETABLES? DO PEOPLE KNOW THE SOURCE OF WHAT THEY BUY IN THAT AREA?]
Most of the reactors were shut down between 1964 and 1971, with an average individual life span of 22 years. The last reactor, N Reactor, continued to operate as a dual-purpose reactor, being both a power reactor used to feed the civilian electrical grid via the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS) and a plutonium production reactor for nuclear weapons. N Reactor operated until 1987. Since then, most of the Hanford reactors have been entombed ("cocooned") to allow the radioactive materials to decay, and the surrounding structures have been removed and buried. The B-Reactor has not been cocooned.
The United States Department of Energy assumed control of the Hanford Site in 1977.
AS IF ALL THAT ISN'T ENOUGH TO GIVE LOCALS NIGHTMARES...
It's also a US Navy nuclear submarine reactor dry storage site, located at 200 East Area Tank farms Trench 94, a trench containing sealed reactor sections of 114 US Navy submarines (as of 2008. The site now stores reactors for USS Seawolf (SSN-575) and USS Patrick Henry (SSBN-599).
114 reactor sections!
Boggles the mind how much radiation is up there!
CONTAMINATED WATER RELEASE KEPT SECRET BY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
A huge volume of water from the Columbia River was required to dissipate the heat produced by Hanford's nuclear reactors. From 1944 to 1971, pump systems drew cooling water from the river and, after treating this water for use by the reactors, returned it to the river. Before being released back into the river, the used water was held in large tanks known as retention basins for up to six hours. Longer-lived isotopes were not affected by this retention, and several terabecquerels entered the river every day. These releases were kept secret by the federal government.
Radiation was later measured downstream as far west as the Washington and Oregon coasts.
IT'S IN THE AIR AND FOOD SUPPLY
The plutonium separation process also resulted in the release of radioactive isotopes into the air, which were carried by the wind throughout southeastern Washington and into parts of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and British Columbia. Downwinders were exposed to radionuclides, particularly iodine-131, with the heaviest releases during the period from 1945 to 1951. These radionuclides filtered into the food chain via contaminated fields where dairy cows grazed; hazardous fallout was ingested by communities who consumed the radioactive food and drank the milk. Most of these airborne releases were a part of Hanford's routine operations, while a few of the larger releases occurred in isolated incidents.
In 1949, an INTENTIONAL release known as the "Green Run" released 8,000 curies of iodine-131 over two days. Another source of contaminated food came from Columbia River fish, an impact felt disproportionately by Native American communities who depended on the river for their customary diets. A U.S. government report released in 1992 estimated that 685,000 curies of radioactive iodine-131 had been released into the river and air from the Hanford site IN JUST 3 YEARS, between 1944 and 1947.
The Washington State Department of Health collaborated with the citizen-led Hanford Health Information Network (HHIN) to publicize data about the health effects of Hanford's operations. HHIN reports concluded that residents who lived downwind from Hanford or who used the Columbia River downstream were exposed to elevated doses of radiation that placed them at increased risk for various cancers and other diseases. A mass tort lawsuit brought by two thousand Hanford downwinders against the federal government has been in the court system for many years.
The first six plaintiffs went to trial in 2005.
On February 15, 2013, Governor Jay Inslee announced a tank storing radioactive waste at the site is leaking liquids on average of 150 to 300 gallons per year. On February 22, 2013, the Governor stated that "6 more tanks at Hanford site" than previously thought were "leaking radioactive waste"
ONLY 7 LEAKY TANKS? REALLY? EVEN WHEN HE SAID IT WAS "JUST ONE", NO RISK?
WOULD INSLEE LET HIS FAMILY LIVE NEAR THAT THING?
As of 2013, there are 177 tanks at Hanford (149 having a single shell). Older single shell tanks were initially used for storing radioactive liquid waste. The tanks were designed to last 20 years.
ONE TANK contains an estimated 447,000 gallons of radioactive sludge!
149 TANKS THAT WE KNOW ABOUT, ALL STORED IN INEFFICIENT MATERIAL KNOWN TO DETERIORATE IN JUST 20 YEARS...TIME'S UP ON THOSE!
There are concerns about contaminated groundwater headed toward the Columbia River. There are also continued concerns about workers' health and safety.
YET THEY OFFER "GUIDED TOURS" OF THAT PLACE?
"COME GET YOUR MAXIMUM LEVEL RADIATION EXPOSURE IN LESS THAN AN HOUR"???
In early 2008, a $600 million cut to the Hanford cleanup budget was proposed. Washington state officials expressed concern about the budget cuts, as well as missed deadlines and recent safety lapses at the site, and threatened to file a lawsuit alleging that the Department of Energy is in violation of environmental laws.
$40 billion already spent on a FAILED clean-up, and an estimated $115 billion more required.
KNOWING IT JUST CAN'T EVER BE CLEANED UP....WHY BOTHER?
JUST SIT BACK AND WAIT FOR THOUSANDS MORE TO DIE AS SO MANY HAVE ALREADY.
AT LEAST 60% OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER IS CONTAMINATED, BUT IT TOOK AN INDEPENDENT TESTING GROUP TO UNCOVER THAT HIDDEN FACT!
AT LEAST 42% OF LOCAL WILDLIFE AND VEGETATION, 45 SPECIES OF ANIMALS, 30 SPECIES OF VEGETATION, TESTED POSITIVE FOR HIGH LEVELS OF RADIONUCLIDE CONCENTRATIONS. HIGHEST LEVELS WERE FOUND IN SPECIES OF MICE AND THISTLE.
MANHATTAN PROJECT ERA PLUTONIUM SAMPLE WAS FOUND BURIED IN ONLY A GLASS JUG DURING INITIAL CLEANUP ATTEMPTS!
IN A GLASS JUG!
Two radionuclides comprise much of the radioactivity in Hanford's tanks: cesium-137 and strontium-90. Both take hundreds of years to decay, and exposure to either would increase a person's risk of developing cancer.
IT WOULD BE WISE OF ALL WHO LIVE IN THAT AREA TO GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN!
THE FEDS WILL NEVER, NEVER GET THAT SITE CLEAN AND THESE NEW LEAKS ARE JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG.
Meanwhile, the Energy Department recently notified Washington and Oregon that it may miss two upcoming deadlines to empty some single-shell tanks and, amid the technical problems, to complete construction on a key part of the plant to handle some of the worst waste.
WHAT IS WORSE THAN ALMOST 150 LEAKING TANKS OF RADIOACTIVE SLUDGE?
WHAT IS WORSE THAN A CONTAMINATED RIVER, CONTAMINATED HUMANS?
MAYBE WE'LL FIND THAT OUT IN ANOTHER 50 YEARS?