Hi all...a bad cold has me restricted to the couch, so here I am spending more time than usuall on ATS.
As always, it has me thinking and
researching things that I normally wouldn't have the time for; the very thing that I love so much about this site!
current ATS thread is in regards to the most recent news coming out of the
Hanford nuclear site. One of whistleblowers and government cover-ups. One might think this is new news, or at least surely not a repeat of mistakes
in the past come to haunt us again.
As I was reading and commenting on the above thread (I encourage you to visit it), it brought up memories. You see, I grew up in Yakima, Washington.
Not too far from the Hanford site, one of the 'Downwind' areas. There were always stories. Rumours about Hanford. I moved there in the early 70s
when I was just a few years old. Until the early 80s, there were only rumours to go off of, because the intentional poisoning of thousands of people
had been sealed.
Let me back up a little bit. That might be hard for even an ATS'r to believe, so I should explain to you first what the Hanford site is:
Back in the early 1940s the US Government needed an area far removed from nearby civilization but close to a clean water supply, so they could produce
plutonium and get in on the nuclear arms race.
They found that in a remote area in Washington State. Even though there were two small towns and an indian tribe living there....they simply took
In December 1942, Groves dispatched his assistant Colonel Franklin T. Matthias and DuPont engineers to scout potential sites. Matthias reported
that Hanford was "ideal in virtually all respects," except for the farming towns of White Bluffs and Hanford. General Groves visited the site in
January and established the Hanford Engineer Works, codenamed "Site W". The federal government quickly acquired the land under its eminent domain
authority and relocated some 1,500 residents of Hanford, White Bluffs, and nearby settlements, as well as the Wanapum and other tribes using the
area. DuPont advertised for workers in newspapers for an unspecified "war construction project" in southeastern Washington, offering
"attractive scale of wages" and living facilities
There is a whole bunch of interesting info on the following linked WIKI site, and I suggest you at least browse through it so that you understand the
massive project that this was. The B reactor was the largest in the world. It is now the MOST CONTAMINATED SITE IN THE WORLD.
So....what is the Green Run? Well, Hanford was the largest pluntonium producer in the world. Over half of the plutonium used in the USA's arsenal
was made there. In the begining of this mad rush, they weren't too concerned about safety issues and large amounts of radioactive isotopes were
released. Even so, the single largest release in a day was intentionally done. It was a test. By our own Government. The public (although
rumoured) didn't oficially know about it until fourty years later when the documents were declassified by the DOE.
In 1949 the Russians were ramping up their own nuclear arsenal and began testing nukes. Our government was scared and wanted a way to measure for
these tests. We had no basis to go off of, so they decided to use the hanford site as a test facility by intentionally releasing radioctive material
into the air and then testing the levels.
Activities at Hanford resulted in the release of large amounts of radiation into the air, water and soil of the Northwest over several decades.
Many of the radiation releases have exceeded permissible limits. Some of the radiation releases have admittedly been intentional, a way of conducting
Cold War nuclear experiments on an unknowing and captive population. All of it was done in the name of the national security and the rush to produce
more and more plutonium.
The largest intentional release of radiation at Hanford occurred in 1949, and is known as the "Green Run." The public was unaware of this event
until some 40 years later, in the late 1980's, when the DOE first declassified release reports acknowledging that the Green Run had occurred and then
only after a newspaper reporter sued the agency.
Documents showed that Hanford intentionally and secretly released about 8,000 curies of radioactive iodine on Dec. 2, 1949. Allegedly the radiation
was released to monitor the radioactive plume stretching across Oregon and Washington in hopes of evaluating equipment used in determining the
location of similar Soviet plutonium production plants.
The Green Run was a huge release by any standard. The 1979 Three Mile Island accident released between 15 and 24 curies of radioactive iodine, several
hundred times less than the Green Run, and nearby residents were evacuated from the area.
No one living downwind from Hanford was ever evacuated or warned of the Green Run or any of the other radioactive release from Hanford. Spanning more
than 40 years, a set of 400 environmental documents were made public in 1986. These documents revealed that Hanford regularly emitted radiation into
the environment. Between 1944 and 1947 the total estimated radioactive iodine released from Hanford was at least 685,000 curies; a truly staggering
Despite this fact, contractors working for the federal government at Hanford repeatedly informed the public that Hanford was safe. When the public
asked if Hanford was safe, they were told that "not one atom" had ever escaped from Hanford and that Hanford was as "safe as mother's milk."
When local residents, concerned over the rumours of this and other releases, asked about it the government told them that it was "as safe as mothers
source for above two quotes
Today, citizens of Washington, Oregon and Idaho are outraged that the federal government secretly irradiated them and lied about it. Many are
worried about their health, and for good reason. By 1940 standards (much more lax than those of today), the Green Run alone exposed those living near
Hanford to amounts of radiation 20 times above tolerance thresholds. Those who lived downwind of Hanford in the years of the releases have
subsequently reported widespread incidents of serious diseases often associated with radiation exposure, including cancer and thyroid disease.
lots of good stuff on this site
In 1946 General Electric took over operations and quickly began building more reactors. By 1963 there were NINE nuclear reactors at the site. All
but one of those reactors were shut down by 1971 (my birth year) and the last one finally in 1987. It now houses a host of nasty nuclear waste,
including the most dangerous in the world.
Problem is, those underground containters are leaking. Turns out they have been leaking for decades and even though they knew about it, nothing has
been done. These containers sit next to the Columbia river: