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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-08 04:21 PM
Original message
Inside Hanford, A Trip to America's Most Toxic Place
http://counterpunch.org/stclair10172008.htm

A Trip to America's Most Toxic Place

Inside Hanford

By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

Richland, Washington.

The outback of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in eastern Washington State is called the T-Farm. Its a rolling expanse of high desert sloping toward the last untamed reaches of the Columbia River. The T stands for tankshuge single-hulled containers buried some fifty feet beneath basalt volcanic rock and sand holding, the lethal detritus of Hanfords fifty-year run as the nations H-bomb factory.

Those tanks had an expected lifespan of thirty-five years; the radioactive gumbo inside them has a half-life of 250,000 years. Dozens of those tanks have now started to corrode and leak, releasing the most toxic material on earthplutonium and uranium-contaminated sludge and liquidon an inexorable path toward the Columbia River, the worlds most productive salmon fishery and the source of irrigation water for the farms and orchards of the Inland Empire, centered on Spokane in eastern Washington.

Internal documents from the Department of Energy and various private contractors working at Hanford reveal that at least one million gallons of radioactive sludge have already leaked out of at least sixty-seven different tanks. Those tanks and others continue to leak and, according to these sources, the leaks are getting much larger.

One internal report shows the results from a borehole drilled into the ground between two of Hanfords largest tanks. Using gamma spectrometry, geologists detected a fifty-fold increase in contamination between 1996 and 2002. The leak from those tanks, and perhaps an underground pipeline, was described as insignificant a decade ago. Six years later that radioactive dribble had swelled up into a continuous plume of highly radioactive Cesium-137.

<snip>
few hundred yards away, a tank called TY-102, the third largest tank at Hanford, is also leaking. Radioactive water is draining out of this single-hulled container and a broken subsurface pipe into what geologists call the vadose zone, the stratum of subsurface soil just above the water table. In an internal 1998 report, the Grand Junction Office of the DOE detected significant contamination forty-two to fifty-two feet below the surface, and concluded in a memo to Hanford managers that the high levels of gamma radiation came from a subsurface source of Cesium-137, which likely resulted from leakage from tank TY-102.

This alarming report was swiftly buried by Hanford officials. So, too, was the evidence of leakage at tanks TY-103 and TY-106. Instead, the DOE publicly declared that portion of the tank farm to be controlled, clean and stable.
..more..
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Tikki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-08 04:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. Tis a dump.....
the whole area is a dump...in every way anyone could define a dump.

The Tikkis
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-08 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. No its not - I've been there several times
It is anything but a dump. It is a vast wasteland to be sure, but for the most part there is nothing there - and then when there is something it is something spectacular. Have you ever seen submarines in the desert? They got 'em.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-08 06:26 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I lived and worked there for over five years. It's a toxic waste dump ... below ground.
Edited on Sat Oct-18-08 06:26 PM by TahitiNut
The community itself betrays a wartime birth in many ways, from the buildings (both on the reservation and in town) still in use to the street names, and a failure to be touched or influenced in any way by "the 60s." The degree to which the radioactive waste has leaked into the groundwater is worse than anything made public yet. From a distance, it's hard to see much amiss ... but it's a mess, for sure.
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-08 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. both my parents worked there
in the beginning,

years later (in the eighties), they both died of lung cancer.
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Tikki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-08 07:28 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. My darling MIL was born there...long before the reactors came in...
and lived there during and after.
She,also, died of lung cancer. No one smoked in her family.
She was so vulnerable to the toxicity.



Tikki

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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-19-08 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. wow
I'm sorry.

I know one particle of plutonium can stay lodged in a lung for years.
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bkkyosemite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-08 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
2. I lived in Coeur d'Alene Idaho, 30 miles east of Spokane. The rate of tyroid cancer in Spokane is
very high as is the rate for MS in CDA and Spokane. I lived there for two years and just recently (June) moved to southern Oregon. I'm glad I did as Hanford leaked radiation in the mid 40's that covered Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and parts of Montana and Canada. I do not think it a healthy place to live. Too bad because it is beautiful there but very cold long winters.
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Andy823 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-08 04:30 PM
Response to Original message
3. Yes, it's bad.
But those living up river from Hanford in the agriculture areas of the state don't have to worry much about Hanford, unless you eat the salmon that come up the river. What we worry about up river is the toxins dumped up in Canada that come "down" river! Lake Roosevelt is the catch all for those toxins and they settle in the bottom of the reservoir. The Columbia river is being poisoned from the Canadian border all the way to the Pacific Ocean. I stopped eating fish from the river a long time ago.
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Generic Other Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-08 05:23 PM
Response to Original message
4. I was dumb enough to go there on a high school field trip
Ex leader of the Senate Mike Mansfield arranged and led the tour. He seemed to be shilling for the nuke industry (my impression). The place was horrific and I regret having risked my life to visit.

Among the things I discovered: There are real life guards who look like Darth Vader's stormtroopers and carry scary looking weapons. Nuclear radiation will not jump on you, so you are safe if you stay behind the yellow police tape as you peer into the water filled containment area where they cool the reactor core. That geiger counters can click constantly without anyone being very concerned. That women of childbearing age are not allowed to work there. That men will look you in the eye and tell you they have to make a living when you ask how they can risk their lives this way.

The last thing I learned: How stupid was I to have visited that horrible place?
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-08 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. I have been there a number of times, its not that bad
There are odd things, particularly as you first enter the site. There are old buildings, and then the shut-down reactors by the river. Then you go inland through much high desert. There is not much of anything there until there is something definitely there. You might run across a tank farm, or one of the Canyons, you might see the hull sections of nuclear submarines lines up all in a row in their eternal grave. Its a hell of a pit.

The problem is the river of course. The waste tanks leaked for decades and that stuff - and it is nasty beyond description in every way you can imagine and then in some ways only god can imagine - finds its way into the water table and finally in the river. Nobody in their right mind would eat anything that came out of that river.

The worst thing that Hanford ever did was hurry up the process and use exposed ponds. Many people can tell you the rest but from my way of thinking the worst thing that happened was that airborne materials from the site found their way into cows milk from dairy operations within hundreds of miles to the south and east.

Anyway, when you go into potentially hot areas you are screened on exit, they are very serious about exposure. More than one person has had to leave their shoes behind.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-08 05:25 PM
Response to Original message
5. "...and various private contractors." That's the most serious part of the colossal scam of
nuclear weapons and nuclear energy.

"Internal documents from the Department of Energy and various private contractors working at Hanford reveal that at least one million gallons of radioactive sludge have already leaked out of at least sixty-seven different tanks."
http://counterpunch.org/stclair10172008.html

Billions and billions and BILLIONS of dollars poured into the pockets of private corps, who profit from the weapons, the energy plants AND the Forever Cleanups--so hauntingly like the Forever War--in a Mobius Strip of corruption and grand theft of taxpayer money. Here, in North Korea, soon in India, and other places, private companies--global corporate predators all--who use the billions we stuff into their pockets to turn around and lobby our government and propagandize our people, profit all around the twisting circle, from design, to fuckup, to studies and reports, to cleanup, back to design, accumulating vast wealth and power over us in this perpetual profiteering on the worst idea the human race has ever conceived.

Hanford is a prime example. Its private contractors, E.I. du Pont de Nemours, General Electric and UNC Nuclear Industries, have been sued by local citizens downwind of released plutonium, who have developed thyroid cancer, and "U.S. taxpayers are paying the legal bills to defend the Hanford contractors in an agreement that dates back to the Manhattan Project, the secret government program to develop an atomic bomb during World War II."
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004330...

Then...

New contractors take over Hanford cleanup projects
By Annette Cary, Herald staff writer

Hanford's two newest major contractors officially took over work Wednesday, equipped with plans they believe will make cleanup of the nuclear reservation safer and more efficient.

Washington River Protection Solutions, under a $7.1 billion contract for up to 10 years, has hired 1,105 employees to manage and operate Hanford's tank farms and prepare for operations of the vitrification plant. Almost all of the tank farm workers for outgoing contractor CH2M Hill Hanford Group who applied for jobs with the new contractor were hired.

And CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co., under a $4.5 billion contract for up to a decade, has hired 1,950 employees to clean up much of central Hanford, to clean up contaminated soil and ground water and to take over work at the K East and K West Reactors.

Any employees the plateau remediation contractor did not hire from Fluor Hanford will remain with Fluor as it continues to provide sitewide services until a new mission support contractor is in place. Fluor Hanford has about 1,700 employees remaining but is accepting applications for the second phase of voluntary layoffs.

The two new contractors will be ramping up work in the coming months, but they and DOE officials were ready to start talking about their plans Wednesday after meetings with Hanford employees.

Washington River Protection Solutions brings a breadth of experience from across the DOE complex in managing and successfully retrieving radioactive liquid waste, said Shirley Olinger, manager of the DOE Hanford Office of River Protection. The team has done similar work at sites in South Carolina, Idaho and West Valley, N.Y.


http://www.tri-cityherald.com/901/story/337361.html

----------

Halliburton Subsidiary to Build North Korea's First Light-Water Reactor
Posted by admin on 2005/9/21 18:02:00 (6394 reads)

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor
Pyongyang, North Korea, November 5, 2006

A jubilant U.S. State Department announced today that the Halliburton subsidiary of Buhn & Dogale, a small ceramic figurine manufacturing firm located in the Cayman Islands, has been granted a coveted $3.2 billion no-bid contract to construct North Korea's first light-water nuclear reactor. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said key officials associated with the contract award, an important component of the recently signed North Korean 'Now You See Them Now You Don't' Strategic Nuclear Arms Limitation Treaty, were 'elated'."


http://www.avantnews.com/modules/news/article.php?story...

----------

And it starts all over again....
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Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-08 07:00 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. I've never seen your sense of humor before
You almost got me with that third link. What a great piece of satire.

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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-19-08 03:17 PM
Response to Reply #12
27. Might as well be, huh? In fact, you gotta figure Halliburton, now headquartered
in the UAE, or one of its many U.S. taxpayer-funded subsidiaries, is in there somewhere.

The nuke industry and the Bushwhacks are so absurdly dirty they really can't be satired. No satire is good enough for them. We are LIVING "Dr. Strangelove: Or how I quit worrying and learned to love The Bomb," wedged to together with "Alice in Wonderland" in weird jabberwocky kind of ways, that turn reality upside down, inside out and looping back upon itself. And maybe throw "Catch 22" into the bargain. It couldn't be crazier. It couldn't be funnier. And it couldn't be more tragic. You gotta wonder if the human race signed its own death warrant in 1945, and the rest is just our slow agonizing extinction from having evolved too clever a brain.
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Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-19-08 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. No, But it REALLY IS a Satire! Look at the link again
Now notice the ad for the huge apartment tower on the right

Read the print that isn't easy to read

It says something like:

"The poor people below look more like ants than ever before"

The whole site is a satire, like The Onion

It's just really realy subtle and very very good.
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dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-08 07:43 PM
Response to Reply #5
14. So we are paying for new companies to fix the problems
created by the old companies, by hiring the old companies employees?

I grew up in E. Washington. Of course we never heard anything of problems there.

The real pisser is that all over the planet now radiation is being spread by reactors, by
"hardened" weapons, and from what I recently read, by "tactical" nukes ( bunker busters)
in Afghanistan, and the vile men who are approving this will claim to not understand why there is such an outbreak of birth defects, cancers and "Gulf War Syndromes" , which won't be treated unless a privatized business can make money out of it.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-08 05:30 PM
Response to Original message
6. And this scenario is repeated, to a lesser or greater degree, all across the US
Wherever there is a nuclear facility there is nuclear waste. With no real plan of disposal that is effective and safe, nuclear waste is either stored on site, or shipped cross country to be stored on some other site. Meanwhile nuclear contaminants like tritium ( and worse) are continuously leaking into our soil and groundwater.

Until we find a safe, sane, clean and permanent way of disposing our nuclear waste, we shouldn't be creating anymore. All we're doing is creating another toxic mess for our children's children's children to clean up.
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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-08 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
7. I'm worried about the salmon, not so much about the irrigation water
There is quite a bit of agriculture in central and western Washington, and of course in Oregon...but the Palouse is upstream from Hanford.

The problem's the salmon. They swim upstream to spawn through the Hanford area...then the little salmon swim to the ocean through the Hanford area. Therefore, ALL the Pacific salmon are at risk of contamination.
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dkofos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-19-08 09:12 AM
Response to Original message
16. This is a good place to start a public works project to clean up this
50 year old mess.

This mess will not just go away.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-19-08 09:32 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. but where would you 'clean it up' to
can't just jettison it out into space now can we? But, but in actuality there is no safe place to put any of the waste.

If one goes over to the EE forum you will find some who want to build more Nuclear power plants. One of those delusional persons claim there is no deaths that can be attributed to any of this.

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dkofos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-19-08 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. Something has to be done. We can't just let it sit there in rotting tanks.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-19-08 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. I know and it wasn't meant to do nothing
just making a point as to what do we do with the radioactive waste. We damn sure don't need to be making any more until that one question is answered.

I wonder why the pro-Nuclear people don't chime in on this thread?
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dkofos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-19-08 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. You didn't bother to look at the link did you
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-19-08 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #22
24. I've read that before
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dkofos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-19-08 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. So you know that something CAN be done.
It is now just a matter of doing it.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-19-08 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #25
26. But will it?
Not until we force it will it. imo

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arcadian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-19-08 09:27 AM
Response to Original message
17. Hanford is now a National Historic Landmark. Bring the kids!
http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/listings/20080829.HTM

WASHINGTON, BENTON COUNTY,

B Reactor,

Route 6, Hanford Site,

Richland vicinity, 92000245,

NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK DESIGNATED/LISTED, 8/19/08
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-19-08 09:59 AM
Response to Original message
21. Could or would you cross post this to the Environment/Energy forum?
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-19-08 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. sure
done
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