- Posted February 26, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Hanford leaks: Senator Wyden Calls for Investigation.
Washington State's Hanford Nuclear Reservation is the most radioactively contaminated site in the country. A radioactive plume has been moving toward the Columbia River for years. Last week it was announced that 6 underground tanks are leaking. The new chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Ron Wyden (D-OR) today called for an investigation into the leaks. He wants to know how long the Energy Dept has known about them and if they and their contractors have reported them properly.
This is not a small issue. There are 177 aging, deteriorating tanks that hold millions of gallons of radioactive sludge that is the waste from decades of nuclear weapons production. Think plutonium.
The Hanford Reservation is the birthplace of the Manhattan Project, where the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were developed. The place is massive: 586 square miles.
The Manhattan Project was a secret so the locals didn't even know what was happening there until after the bombs were dropped. The media was mum. Imagine that? They knew some of what was going on but they were sworn to secrecy. That could never happen today.
The costs of clean up have recently been raised to over $114B. That's billions folks. Can we afford not to pay it? Can we afford to allow the leaking radioactive waste to contaminate the Columbia River? I don't think so.
How will the sequester affect the clean up? Is the taxpayer's money funding the clean up being used wisely? Or are they just doing a jig down in the Tri-Cities with all the money being made with little progress? Who's minding the register???
So many questions...
We need to clean up the Hanford site but we need oversight. Washington State's new governor, former US Rep Jay Inslee has called for action as well. I only hope the pressure will bring focus on this very big problem.
Let's not just throw money at the problem. Let's figure out how to keep the waste contained and stop creating more waste since we have no viable solutions for waste disposal.
Wake up America. Nukes are going to be a very expensive problem. They already are. Think Fukushima.
Can we afford to continue to ignore the threats? Can we not clean up the radioactive mess we've created?
I don't think so.
photos taken by me at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. April, 2012.
Read more here:
Thanks for reading!