Those steel tanks you see are some of the 177 that contain 53 million gallons of heavy metals, acids and solvents. They also contain plutonium, cesium, strontium and uranium. All are buried underground.
Of those 177, sixty-seven are confirmed leakers, meaning their contents are leaching into the soil and headed toward the Columbia River. Most have exceeded their anticipated 50 year life span, creating fear of a catastrophic tank failure.
Thousands of tons of radioactive and hazardous waste has been buried in unlined landfills and 450 billion gallons of liquid waste has been poured into ponds, ditches and drainfields at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in the state of Washington.
These figures come from an article in today’s Washington Post, which I don’t intend to re-write. My purpose is only to call your attention to this article and hope you will read it and sense the gravity of the situation in that state.
More than a million people living downstream from Hanford are being threatened by a huge plume of groundwater contaminated with radiation and heavy metals moving their way.
The Bush administration’s proposed cleanup budget has trimmed $800 million from cleanup funding, and increased funding for nearly all other categories in the government’s nuclear program.
And they want to mine more uranium, build more nuclear power plants and pile up more spent radioactive material with no where to go, but possibly our drinking water and riding along with that breeze we inhale.
If you’d like to review some Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports on nuclear issues, I suggest you start with these eye openers.
- GAO report on the Hanford facility as recent as Jan 22, 2008.
- GAO reports on nuclear cleanup issues as recent as Nov 15,2007.
- GAO reports on hazardous waste issues as recent as Nov 13, 2007.
- GAO reports on uranium mining cleanup as recent as Oct 26, 2007.
You may find some duplicity in the reports, but there’s plenty of information to keep the interested person quite busy.