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Earthquake Swarms (280) at Largest Nuclear Waste Dump in Western Hemisphere - Washington State

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posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 09:51 AM
There have been 280 Earthquakes since the beginning of the year at the Largest Nuclear Waste Dump in the Western Hemisphere, located in Washington State.

The site the "Hanford Nuclear Reservation" is situated right by the Columbia River.

link to overall information about Hanford:

there are many historic photos of Hanford at the above site, too many to insert here..... very interesting pictures!

The Hanford Site is a decommissioned nuclear production complex on the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington, operated by the United States federal government. The site has been known by many names, including Hanford Works, Hanford Engineer Works, Hanford Nuclear Reservation or HNR, and the Hanford Project. Established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project in the town of Hanford in south-central Washington, the site was home to the B Reactor, the first full-scale plutonium production reactor in the world.[1] Plutonium manufactured at the site was used in the first nuclear bomb, tested at the Trinity site, and in Fat Man, the bomb detonated over Nagasaki, Japan.

During the Cold War, the project was expanded to include nine nuclear reactors and five massive plutonium processing complexes, which produced plutonium for most of the 60,000 weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.[2][3] Nuclear technology developed rapidly during this period, and Hanford scientists produced many notable technological achievements. However, many of the early safety procedures and waste disposal practices were inadequate. Government documents have since confirmed that Hanford's operations released significant amounts of radioactive materials into the air and the Columbia River, which threatened the health of residents and ecosystems.[4]

manufacturing process left behind 53 million U.S. gallons (204,000 m³) of high-level radioactive waste that remains at the site.[5] This represents two-thirds of the nation's high-level radioactive waste by volume.[6] Today, Hanford is the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States[7][8] and is the focus of the nation's largest environmental cleanup.[2] While most of the current activity at the site is related to the cleanup project, Hanford also hosts a commercial nuclear power plant, the Columbia Generating Station, and various centers for scientific research and development, such as the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the LIGO Hanford Observatory.

The below is what it looked like when it had the reactors going

The below is the layout during the Manhattan Project:

Now, that you know some about Hanford, lets look at the concerns regarding the Earthquake Swarms.

Information from the govt. about what it is doing, trying to "clean it up"

here is information, from a group that is "watching Hanford" There is all kinds of information about the site at this link........ including vids..... about it.

Here is a recent interesting article March 2, 2009 from NYtimes, about some Plutonium found there

But now here is info on the Earthquake Swarms to bring all this together:


A swarm of small earthquakes -- more than 280 of them since the first of the year -- is tickling an area near eastern Washington's Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The quakes are too small to disturb the radioactive material stored at Hanford or to interfere with cleanup operations there, said Alan Rohay, senior scientist and seismologist with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which operates at Hanford.

The plant processed plutonium for nuclear weapons during World War II and the Cold War.

The quakes have caused some minor problems at the LIGO laboratory at Hanford, however, knocking sensitive equipment off-line for a few minutes at a time. The sprawling facility -- LIGO stands for Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory -- was built to measure ripples in the fabric of space and time. Cosmic gravitational waves are produced by such things as the collision of black holes or shockwaves from supernova explosions.

There have been no damage reports elsewhere, and only a couple of the quakes were even felt by people, but researchers at the University of Washington's Pacific Northwest Seismic Network took notice anyway.

"It certainly has gotten our attention," said seismologist Bill Steele, who called them "wonderful, interesting."

The quakes are centered near Wooded Island on the Columbia River, about eight miles north of Richland. The largest was magnitude 2.9 and most were smaller than 1.0. Because they are small and occurring relatively close to the surface, less than two miles deep, researchers believe the quakes are happening within the Columbia River basalt layers rather than a deeper and more dangerous fault zone, Steele said. As a result, a large earthquake is considered unlikely.

Scientists are eager to learn the cause of the quakes, he said. Swarms were first noticed in the area after groundwater irrigation projects began on surrounding farmland in the 1960s. The basalt layers may be sensitive to changes in the water table or water pressure, Steele said.

Meanwhile, a much larger earthquake was detected west of Grants Pass on Feb. 26. It measured 4.1 and surprised scientists because a deep, strong quake was not expected in that area, Steele said.

"All in all it's been an interesting week for earthquakes," he said.

Here is the PNW earthquake site:

I am not going to insert the list of quakes.... due to the amount of space it would take.

Here is a site from the govt. regarding "concerns" and is a comprehensive document on Hanford, the soil - the risk from quakes, the contamination etc. It is a complete and lengthy document about Hanford from the Govt.

Seismic activity in the Hanford Site area is low compared to other regions of the Pacific Northwest. In 1936, the largest known earthquake (a Richter magnitude of 5.75) in the Columbia Plateau occurred near Milton-Freewater, Oregon (Cushing 1994). Other earthquakes with a Richter magnitude of 5.0 or larger have occurred near Lake Chelan, Washington to the northwest, along the boundary of the Columbia Plateau and the Cascade Mountain Range, west and north of the Hanford Site, and east of the Hanford Site in Washington State and northern Idaho. In addition, earthquake swarms of small magnitudes that are not associated with mapped faults occur on and around the Hanford Site. An earthquake swarm is a series of earthquakes closely related in terms of time and location.

Four earthquake sources are considered relevant for the purpose of seismic design of TWRS sites: the Rattlesnake-Wallula alignment, Gable Mountain, an earthquake anywhere in the tectonic province, and the swarm area. For the Rattlesnake-Wallula alignment, which passes along the southwest boundary of the Hanford Site, a maximum Richter magnitude of 6.5 has been estimated. For Gable Mountain, an east-west structure that passes through the northern portion of the Hanford Site a maximum Richter magnitude of 5.0 has been estimated. The earthquake for the tectonic province was developed from the Milton-Freewater earthquake, with a Richter magnitude of 5.75. A Richter magnitude 4.0 event is considered the maximum swarm earthquake, based on the maximum swarm earthquake in 1973 (Cushing 1994). The Hanford Site current design basis for new facilities is for facilities to withstand a 0.2 gravity earthquake (Richter magnitude of approximately 6.4) with a reoccurrence frequency of 2.0E-04.

[edit on 14-3-2009 by questioningall]

posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 09:56 AM
I meant to put in today's latest monitor graph.... so you could see the activity today: 3/14/09


posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 11:20 AM
A few more pictures to show, what a toxic waste dump the place is and how unkept it is:

The below is toxic waste on the surface - spilled:

Below is toxic waste uncapped and underwater at Hanford:

posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 12:49 PM
Today's chart shows only very very small earthquakes, probably less than 1.0 magnitude, thus only instrumentally felt. The strongest earthquake recorded, of 2.9 magnitude, is also weaker than what is generally considered to be the threshold of human sensivity (3.0 magnitude).

From what I know, nuclear waste facilities built on seismic areas are required to be able to withstand much stronger earthquakes than what historically recorded.
It's worth watching the situation develop, considering the unkempt conditions of the facility.
I don't think there are serious concerns due to recent seismicity, though.

[edit on 2009/3/14 by Shirakawa]

posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 01:35 PM
reply to post by Shirakawa

I agree, but there has been this unusual swarm that has happened since the first of the year, right at the area.

This is that Outter circle of quakes that have been happeing in the PNW.

Imagine if a big quake does hit there.......... all the nuke waste could seep into the river. Which is one of the things the "Hanfordwatch" group has been concerned about.

The govt. has obviously, not taken good care of the largest nuclear waste site in the U.S.

So first, how have they gotten away with letting it go as it is........ and second the concern of quakes in that area... could damage the waste in containers (since they haven't been completely secured) if bigger ones begin hitting.

We also are having quakes in very odd areas right now........ so...... I don't even want to think about a larger quake hitting at the Hanford site..... to the toxic waste spill that could happen.

As one of the reports says..... the stuff there, is toxic for 250000 years!!

posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 01:43 PM
This is exactly the reason why all things nuclear need to cease immediately.
Certainly we should be smarter than this by now.
It's plutonium!
This planet is not a dumping ground for our dangerously bad ideas.
There are so many of these nuclear waste areas around the world.
It's a much more dangerous situation than people want to admit.
I am continually shocked by the lack of common sense employed by our species.
....and of course there should be a very watchful eye out in regards to the swarm.

[edit on 14-3-2009 by spinkyboo]

posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 03:23 PM
reply to post by spinkyboo

I agree, it is amazing that we create toxic waste that will be TOXIC for 250,000 years! Then, in creating it, we leave it to contaminate our Earth, as they have done at Hanford.

Now, that there are Earthquake swarms there........ you would think - the govt. would realize that there is no place "safe" for toxic waste!

posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 05:19 PM
It's very shocking, let alone disheartening at the least.

We as a species have made some of the most astonishing leaps and bounds in fields such as technology, medical, and psychological.

But through out our existence we have never been able to get a handle/grip on the topic of our own waste.

We are making break throughs almost daily, but the only place we're going to end up is neck high in our own feces or in this case, nuclear waste.

posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 05:20 PM

Originally posted by questioningall

The govt. has obviously, not taken good care of the largest nuclear waste site in the U.S.

So first, how have they gotten away with letting it go as it is........ and second the concern of quakes in that area... could damage the waste in containers (since they haven't been completely secured) if bigger ones begin hitting.

The "Not in my back yard" mentality in the US is probably one of the biggest factors in our nuclear waste not being handled as it should. Sometimes you have to look deeper than just to immediately place all blame on the Government. Yes the Government created the problems to begin with but now the true problem lies in the other court.

For decades the Government has tried to deal with all of the waste, only to be stopped cold by the fact there are very limited sites suitable and those sites being impossible to develop due to mindless radical environmentalism.

Every attempt made to locate and develop a suitable site has been blocked through lawsuits from these mindless groups who are actually causing more environmental problems than they have ever solved.

Out of one side of their faces they claim to want the environment cleaned up while they use the other side of their face to file suits that guarantee the sites will not be cleaned up. It leads me to believe the environmental leaders are in fact in league to make sure problems are not solved because their salaries and survival as activists groups depend on stopping the work that is needed. Put simply, if the problems are solved, they are out of a job and a cash cow.

We see this proven over an over again with incidents like when Greenpeace attempted to ram and sink a ship containing Plutonium while advertising the ships existence to Terrorists purposefully. We also see it in attempts by their subscribers to do things like derail trains hauling cars with low level waste to the Arco Site in Idaho.

The big money groups like the Sierra Club operate by creating and secretly funding small local radical groups to try and disassociate themselves from the disinformation and criminal activities and to give the false appearance their plans have significant local backing.

Until the Lawyers are reigned in and the true intent of these Environmental Opportunists are exposed, there will be no real cleanup. Problems that could have been effectively dealt with decades ago have been entirely stopped by these phonies.

Hanford could have been cleaned up long ago were it not for the interference of the duped members of these groups who have fallen for the lie that their leaders actually want the environment cleaned up. They keep sending in those donations like the good little sheep they are while those lining their pockets with cash laugh behind closed doors.

I think the biggest danger to a place like Hanford is that one of these radical followers of the Environmental Guru's will someday cause a catastrophe on purpose to make a perceived point. Imagine if they had been successful sinking that ship. What if the Terrorists they informed about the secret shipment of Plutonium had actually gone after that ship? What if they had succeeded in derailing a train in Idaho? Would anyone with a shred of legitimacy even be involved with these groups? No, they would not.

Given the geology of that area and it being located on the Columbia Flow, I think that earthquakes are the least likely cause of a catastrophe with the most likely being a Domestic Terrorist act by a so-called Environmental Activist. It is highly doubtful the academic community of Geologists are in league to cover anything up. If they say it is unlikely there will be a larger quake they believe it.

posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 05:22 PM
reply to post by Allegory of Illumination

We are capable of dealing with our waste. The technology is there. It is the lawsuits and the courts who are not allowing it to happen. It is a huge Cash Cow for the Lawyers and Environmental Groups neither of which give a damn about you or me.

posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 05:44 PM
The waste there is actually undergoing a process (crystallization) that will solidify it (that means no leaking). The barrels themselves are built to withstand much more extreme conditions. To say there's isn't maintenance would not be accurate. The tanks are monitored around the clock.
And the area, as far as I know, isn't one known for seismic activity....

posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 05:54 PM
Couldnt we just send it into the sun?

2nd line,

posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 06:46 PM
reply to post by laiguana

That is the problem, there have been 280 quakes since the beginning of the year. It has become active.

Actually, the govt. is doing some clean up work, but as pictured provided above, and if you go to the "watch dog" site, you will find the govt. has been lacking Big time on keeping the area completely safe.

posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 06:55 PM
I know a few people who work out there and I wrote them after I saw this post. They said that they knew about the quakes, but knew that they weren't large enough to cause any damage. One of them said he hadn't even seen ripples in his coffee yet, so he wasn't worried. As for the site itself, it is a Super Fund site and they are working at cleaning it up. Sadly, during the MAD years of the Cold War, the US was far more interested in Plutonium production than they were about making sure the site was taken care of. Back then, it was out in the middle of nowhere in the deserts of central Washington. Now, the Tri-Cities have grown substantially, and people are now aware of potential environmental disasters should the contamination reach the waters of the Columbia River. There are monitoring sites all along the river making sure that hasn't happened (and it hasn't).

Hanford is a lesson for us all. It's the result of what happens when people do crazy things and fail to think them through. It's what happens when you have a government that can exempt itself from its own rules. My friends there are good people. They've been working for years to clean that place up (and for a large part, they have). Hanford will be a museum. A monument to insanity, just as Site Trinity is in New Mexico.

My friend there, who isn't a geologist, says that they've been told that they think the site is active because of plate movement elsewhere, though it hasn't been pinpointed where yet (at least that's what they've been hearing). They've been told that they shouldn't see more powerful quakes than they have already, and that the site has already been hardened for attack, which will help greatly against an earthquake.

Good catch questioningall.

posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 07:12 PM

Originally posted by NateNute
Couldnt we just send it into the sun?

2nd line,
Managing nuclear waste: Options considered
Space disposal

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the DOE also researched several methods of disposal in space. Possibilities included launching waste containers into the sun or putting them on the moon.

Space disposal offers the attraction of permanent separation of waste from the human environment.

However, the disadvantages of space disposal are great.

The possibility of an accident during launch and the potential for radioactive waste to be scattered by such an accident make this an unacceptable option.

In addition, space disposal is impractical because of the number of launches that would be required.

Establishing international agreements on how such a program would be operated and regulated would also be difficult

posted on Mar, 15 2009 @ 03:55 PM
A few more EQs today.

y/m/d h:m:s LAT
deg LON
MAP 2.1 2009/03/15 17:58:05 46.392 -119.279 0.0 12 km ( 8 mi) N of Richland, WA
MAP 1.9 2009/03/15 16:38:13 46.397 -119.278 0.0 13 km ( 8 mi) N of Richland, WA
MAP 2.3 2009/03/15 15:54:05 46.393 -119.271 0.0 13 km ( 8 mi) N of Richland, WA
MAP 1.9 2009/03/15 11:08:48 46.409 -119.277 1.0 14 km ( 9 mi) NNE of West Richland, WA
MAP 2.0 2009/03/15 10:50:13 46.401 -119.269 1.1 13 km ( 8 mi) N of Richland, WA
MAP 1.8 2009/03/15 04:24:28 46.398 -119.279 0.0 13 km ( 8 mi) NNE of West Richland, WA
MAP 1.3 2009/03/15 03:33:30 48.529 -122.185 13.2 5 km ( 3 mi) NE of Sedro-Woolley, WA
MAP 1.9 2009/03/15 03:21:12 46.402 -119.273 0.0 14 km ( 8 mi) N of Richland, WA
MAP 1.0 2009/03/15 00:07:23 46.410 -119.295 0.9 14 km ( 9 mi) NNE of West Richland, WA

The latest was a 2.1M

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 07:21 AM
bigger quake there this morning.......

Also I have heard there have been reports of "filed deverted" of "alarming results" of radionuclide tests.

y/m/d h:m:s deg deg km

2.7 2009/03/16 00:31:19 46.396N 119.279W 0.9 13 km ( 8 mi) NNE of West Richland, WA
1.8 2009/03/16 00:24:35 46.396N 119.283W 0.8 13 km ( 8 mi) NNE of West Richland, WA
2.1 2009/03/15 22:42:32 46.400N 119.281W 1.0 13 km ( 8 mi) NNE of West Richland, WA

I also found this report from 2005


The Government Accountability Project (GAP) and Boston Chemical Data Corporation issued a study that includes the first reports of plutonium in clams and fish in the Columbia River.

The report includes evidence that radiation levels in mulberry trees are higher than previously reported, and that strontium-90 has entered the ecosystem in high levels.

"This is hard evidence that points to past Department of Energy reports as being inadequate to protect the people of southwest Washington and northern Oregon," said Tom Carpenter, GAP Nuclear Oversight Campaign Director

In addition to plutonium being found for the first time in fish, increased levels of strontium, mercury, beryllium, uranium, and cesium were detected in aquatic creatures. Short and long term effects of this exposure remain unknown, the report states.

It was also found that mulberry leaves from the shoreline of the Columbia River at the Hanford perimeter are toxic, indicating that the mulberries themselves may be contaminated.

Strontium 90 levels in mulberry leaves in the area tested "are 875 times higher than levels found near Richland," the report states. "At this level ingestion of 0.05 ounces per day of similarly-contaminated food would exceed EPA's maximum allowable risk level of 4 mRem [millirem] per year."

While the mulberry contamination shows "increased environmental risk via transfer of groundwater hazards into the biosphere," Kaltofen writes that the uptake of strontium 90 by mulberry plants may offer a potential method of remediation for groundwater cleanup in the root zone of mulberry plants.

Rodent scats from the test area showed greater than 13-fold elevated levels of strontium 90 compared to downstream areas, "showing that the material has entered the food chain for higher organisms," according to the report.

Possible windblown contamination was also measured in attic dust collected from homes in Richland. One sample showed levels of radiation six times higher than samples taken from attics in houses in other parts of the country.

I will keep searching for more information, as this is a serious hazard for those in the PNW, and if quakes are getting larger there.......

posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 07:38 AM
Update - There have been 118 quakes in the area now - in one weeks time. They are still in the 1 and 2's M - but they are occuring more often.

on the 18th - there were 38 quakes on that day - alone.

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