Tag Archives: radioactive waste

What is Really Happening at Hanford?

Is US Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry smart enough to engineer a coverup of a massive radiation leak in the state of Washington, or is he being kept out of the loop by other department officials, or is there really “nothing to see here”?

My guess is the middle scenario, based on the likelihood that Perry couldn’t care less about knowing what is going on as to storing the country’s nuclear waste or how “his” department responds to urgencies.

But first, let’s back up a bit. What is now generally referred to merely as the “Hanford Site”, was built as part of the Manhattan Project, and in the mid-1940s, it included the world’s first full-scale plutonium production reactor where plutonium for the world’s first nuclear bomb was manufactured. As nuclear weapons’ development mushroomed during the Cold War, Hanford was expanded to include


eight additional nuclear reactors, and the site produced the bulk of the plutonium used in the entire US nuclear arsenal, said to at one time number over 60,000 weapons. The Hanford Site has a long history of failures, however, and over the years unknown amounts of radioactive material have escaped into the air and into Washington State’s rivers. With the end of the Cold War and the end of nuclear weapons’ production, reactors were decommissioned, leaving the site with 53 Million gallons of high-level radioactive waste, 25 million cubic feet of solid radioactive waste and 200 square miles of land with contaminated groundwater, in all amounting to two-thirds of the high-level radioactive waste existing in the United States, making Hanford the most contaminated nuclear site in the country. Continue reading