RADIOACTIVE PLUTONIUM DETECTED IN AIR NEAR HANFORD NUCLEAR FACILITY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


RADIOACTIVE PLUTONIUM DETECTED IN AIR NEAR HANFORD NUCLEAR FACILITY

Just ten days after the emergency at Washington's Hanford nuclear facility in early May, when a tunnel collapse prompted concerns about radioactive waste fallout as we described then in "'Serious Situation' After Tunnel Collapse At WA Nuclear Facility; Evacuation Ordered, No-Fly Zone In Place", we reported that the U.S. Department of Energy was scrambling to deal with a second emergency, when signs emerged that a massive underground double shell nuclear waste holding tank may also be leaking. As reported then, the tank in question - AZ 101 - was put into service in 1976, with a life expectancy of 20 years. Through 2017, it has been holding hot, boiling radioactive and chemically contaminated waste for 41 years.

As a reminder, prior to this second leak, on May 9 workers found a 20 by 20 foot cave in of a tunnel used to store highly radioactive and chemically contaminated equipment from the Cold War-era. Worse still, as The Wall Street Journal reported at the time, a worker’s clothing was exposed to radioactive contamination at the site, in what Gov. Jay Inslee called an “alarming incident” that should prompt federal officials to expedite their cleanup of the decommissioned facility. Detection equipment was then used to check for contamination that might have become airborne and adhered to the workers.

The radioactive material was found in three spots: on a worker's shoe, his shirt, and his pants in the knee area. According to workers in the field, the contaminated items were removed, bagged and appropriately disposed of.

Following these incidents, all newsflow involving Hanford and its erratic leaks of radioactive material faded away, even as concerns grew that leaks at the radioactive facility were not being addressed.

In retrospect, the concerns were justified because according to KATU2, on Tuesday health officials confirmed low plutonium levels in the air near the Hanford nuclear reservation.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The Federal government's attitude, with issues like this, is if something cannot, or will not, be fixed, no matter how many people it harms, just ignore it!!

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