It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The mighty Columbia River marks the site’s eastern boundary where its waters once served as the depository for a few of the reactors’ contaminated effluent. Belly-high barbwire fencing, with phallic smoke stacks positioned next to its aging boxy structures, surrounds Hanford’s dry austere landscape. The aura of this rough terrain, taken from the Wanapum tribe only 66 years ago, is evocative to say the least.
For starters, it’s the most polluted nuclear site on the planet. “It was the perfect marriage of science and engineering,” one of our guides expressed almost tearfully. “The brave men that built this left us a history we should not ever forget.”
The article goes on to point out that the Japanese were close to the point of surrender, and the "bomb" was not necessary. Hey, but the bomb was a "necessary evil", right? Well, lets look at what else Hanford has contributed to America.
most significantly, the plutonium produced in B was used as fuel for the “Fat Man” bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945 at the behest of President Truman. While educational video rolled, explaining this fact to reactor tourists, the scenes that followed were not of the devastation the bomb had on these innocent Japanese. Over 80,000 men, women and children eventually died as a result of that brutal bombing. Bodies were broiled with radiation, maimed and so badly charred that friends and family were only left with unrecognizable skeletal fragments to remember their loved ones by
It went something like this: In order to cool off the uranium slugs that were used to produce plutonium, water, after being treated, was pumped from the Columbia River and flowed through the aluminum tubes that held the uranium in order to reduce the slugs’ high temperatures. Around 75,000 gallons of water rushed in at regular river temperatures every minute and was then released back into the Columbia at around 200 degrees Celsius. Early studies showed that young salmon were most susceptible to the effluent’s radiation, and by the late 1950s, salmon runs in the mid-Columbia began to rapidly decline in number. As historian Michelle Gerber writes in On the Home Front: The Cold War Legacy of the Hanford Nuclear Site, “In 1959, Hanford biologists reported that the number of chinook salmon spawning in the vicinity was only about 19 percent of 1958.” Gerber adds that nearby towns along the Columbia were also affected, “In mid-1947, river water at Pasco and sanitary (city) water at Kennewick first showed detectable levels of gross beta-emitting radiation ... Values in the river water at Richland were even higher, reaching up to four times that at Pasco by late 1948.”
At certain periods, such as the December, 1949 “Green Run”, where raw uranium fuel slugs were being processed, winter storm events hit the region, causing heavy deposits of radioiodine (I-131) and Xenon (Xe-133) to literally rain down on local communities. Samples taken during the “Green Run” incident were one thousand times the government’s recommended level. Towns as far as away as 70 miles, such as Walla Walla, Washington, even registered high readings. The product produced inside the B Reactor helped to kill countless people and the poisoning of the land, air and water from this one facility alone outshines the catastrophe of Three Mile Island. Yet none of our guides on the tour shared any of this with us that day.
Because of the secrecy surrounding nuclear weapons production, the public did not know much about Hanford's operational details until 1986. By February of that year, citizen pressure had forced the U.S. Department of Energy to release 19,000 pages of Hanford historical documents that had been previously unavailable to the public. These pages revealed there had been huge releases of radioactive materials into the environment that contaminated the Columbia River and more than 75,000 square miles of land. Many people were outraged at the four decades of secrecy and deception.1 They felt they had been betrayed by their own government. They demanded to know how the government could have kept such dangers secret for so long.