Hanford: The Fukashima of the U.S.
Quick synopsis of Fukashima so that my title comparison makes sense:
Fukashima is a nuclear power plant in Japan that in 2011, was struck by a tsunami, causing unrecoverable damage.
Since then, it has been leaking 300 tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.
Enter Hanford Nuclear Weapons Facility:
The collapse of a tunnel containing toxic nuclear waste dating back to the beginning of the Cold War at the Hanford nuclear weapons complex is being covered up. What is even more alarming, is that the radiation coming from this facility is not something that just started with this explosion. This has been an ongoing problem for years.
The PUREX (plutonium-uranium extraction plant) facility was built in the 1950s and used until 1988 to extract plutonium from about 70,000 fuel rods total.
This Hanford facility has been vacant for nearly twenty years and “remains highly contaminated,”according to the Hanford website. Rail cars used to transport the fuel rods from the nuclear reactors to the processing facility are buried inside the nearby tunnels.
This wasn’t such a good idea, says Dirk Dunning, nuclear material specialist with the Oregon Department of Energy. “The worst possible time to save money is at the beginning. You’re better off to be very nearly complete on design before you begin construction.”
Donna Busche, a nuclear and environmental safety manager for Hanford contractor URS Corp., goes on to describe these cutbacks and disregard for safety issues, “obscene”.
So What is Going On?
Following this recent explosion, there is conflicting information as to what is actually happening. The Hanford website describes the event as minor and that everything should be back to normal, however workers on site described the explosion as loud and violent enough that the entire complex shook.
Hanford Source: “This is the biggest deal I’ve seen at Hanford in my 35 years here.”
— Susannah Frame (@SFrameK5) May 9, 2017
Below is an audio that took place between the workers that not only proves radiation was released, but that this supposed hole has actually been there for an unknown amount of time. According to a worker, also in the below video, the radiation that exists in this hole is powerful enough to kill someone within an hour of exposure. This is about as concrete as evidence can get, take a listen:
They are now filling this hole with dirt and attempting to eliminate it from all media outlets.
U.S. Air Force have been repeatedly flying what are called nuclear sniffer planes. As you can guess, they are used to track and detect nuclear radiation.
What is interesting, is a supposed no fly zone has been issued for the Hanford, WA area, however airlines, such as American Airlines are still flying over this zone with no regard.
As previously mentioned, this explosion seems to be only the tip of the iceberg. Uncontrolled leaking of toxic radiation is nothing new, and certainly did not just happen with this recent explosion.
A number of current and former Hanford workers suffer from serious medical conditions as a result of exposure to toxic waste leaks and “burps” of radiation at the complex, RT America reported May 2016.
It is these types of incidents that fossil fuel corporations continuously brush under the rug that should be motivating us to look to alternative energy methods, such as artificial photosynthesis: a method that can convert greenhouse gases into clean air and produce energy at the same time.
This is what the news should be covering.
-Michael Lane for Squawker.org