Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 11, 2017

Tunnel With Radioactive Waste Collapses - No Real Solution In Sight

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state is said to be the most polluted site in the United States. Part of it are the ruins of PUREX, a Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility that has been used to produce Plutonium for nuclear weapons from World War II on throughout the Cold War. Extracting Plutonium from used Uranium fuel is a chemical process hat leaves aggressive and highly radioactive waste.

On Tuesday an incident occurred at the the site. A sinkhole appeared above an old railroad tunnel which is full of radioactive equipment. Workers are now filling the hole with 50 truckloads of dirt. Officials claim that no release of chemicals or radioactivity occurred.

The old railroad tunnel at the side has been used to store radioactive machinery and fuel containers:

Railroad cars loaded with contaminated equipment were backed into the tunnel by a remotely operated engine and left there, with the door eventually sealed closed.

Radiation levels of wastes stored there would be lethal to humans within an hour, according to Heart of America Northwest, a Seattle-based Hanford watchdog group.

The tunnel was used from 1960 to 1965. In 1964 a longer and more reinforced tunnel was added at PUREX.

The original tunnel offers little protection:

The rail tunnel was built in 1956 out of timber, concrete and steel, topped by 8 feet of dirt. It was 360 feet long (110 meters).

Competent engineers built these tunnels.


Still, it is likely that problems with these tunnels will increase over time. Theys need immediate attention. Unfortunately not everyone is of that opinion:

[T]he Energy Department last year received permission to delay removing waste from the tunnels until 2042. The waste was supposed to be gone by 2024,

Here are lists of the various loads (1, 2, 3) the railway cars in the tunnels are carrying. Some of them are radiating with up to 500 rem per hour.

Doses greater than 100 rem received over a short time period are likely to cause acute radiation syndrome (ARS), possibly leading to death within weeks if left untreated.

Much lower doses, received over longer periods of time, will significantly increase the risk of cancer.

The tunnels and the radioactive machinery in them are not the only imminent problem at Hanford. The site also holds 200 million liters of radioactive waste stored in 177 double-walled concrete tanks, Some of these tanks, built underground 40 years ago, are leaking aggressive and radioactive chemicals.

As long as the waste stays in place at the Hanford site the immediate danger from it is only relevant to the nearby communities. But a large fire or a natural catastrophe could distribute highly radioactive particles over very large areas.

Tens of billions have been spent in research and pilot facilities to treat radioactive waste and to encapsulate it in glass. Finding final safe storage sites continues to be a problem. Real progress is still missing. Unless the societies decide to set the safe storage of radioactive waste as a priority it will take 50 or more years until the cleanups in Hanford and elsewhere are finished.

An international crash program could significantly shorten that time-span and remove the dangerous waste from various leaky storage sites all over the world. But unless there is some very large incident with significant casualties such a project is unlikely to begin.

Posted by b on May 11, 2017 at 05:37 AM | Permalink


Don't hold your breath...
AmeriKKKa inspired the slogan "When all you've got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."
So until someone invents a bomb big enough to make Hanford disappear without a trace (for Fun & Profit), it'll get worse before it gets better.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 11, 2017 6:45:10 AM | 1

Actually, Russia tested a 500 Megaton bomb 40 or 50 years ago. But it's reserved for Washington so Hanford is out of luck...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 11, 2017 6:57:30 AM | 2

A friend of mine's father used to work for Aerojet in Sacramento in the '60's and '70's. They were developing and testing rocket motors and often had toxic waste fluids that had to be disposed of. The bosses then did not want to have to pay to store or dispose of these fluids, so the plant employees were instructed to pour it all down a series of old wells... straight into the ground water.

My Grandfather, Father, and 2 uncles lived near the Bermite explosives plant in Newhall California in the 50's and 60's. The entire area is contaminated with various heavy metals. My Grandfather and all 3 of his sons died prematurely of cancer, 3 of them from pancreatic cancer.

Clearly the US MIC has never had any concerns for anything but profits. What one must remember is that these large defense companies have always largely belonged to one group of people. For instance, Vickers fell under Rothchilds control in the 1880's.

Posted by: Heros | May 11, 2017 7:00:18 AM | 3

Among many other such failings, there also was a story about a major gas leak that had been left to repair itself in Porter Ranch, California. What I don't get is the US insistence on the private sector, everything else being "communist". Obviously, private companies don't make any profit from maintenance, so trains will go until they rust to oblivion, bridges until they collapse, water will be "drinkable" as long as it doesn't downright kill you, and so on and so forth. But then, any other solution, like the State stepping in to order proper maintenance, would be "communist". So there we are. The US sate of utter disrepair is a cultural matter.

Posted by: Lea | May 11, 2017 7:05:31 AM | 4

We all like to think that we're better, or that at least somebody is (it's a nice dream), but I don't know of any that are or ever were. Plenty of madness in any country including the supposedly "nice" ones (a complete joke) like Sweden, Norway, or Denmark (Greenland is in the Danish realm) all of whom have had nasty nuclear issues surface this past year and two of which don't even use nuclear power for energy generation. In other news Skagerak is still a massive WWII chemical weapons dumping ground slowly rusting away in the same way as hundreds or thousands of tonnes of WWII explosives in the English Channel. Those old examples might still turn out to be nicer than that old highly radioactive Nazi bunker complex in Germany. All of those examples are older than the US mess and of course there's plenty of similar old examples from the former USSR as well (entire towns and rivers).

On the bright side humanity is eventually a self-correcting problem and a boon for future lifeforms since so much stuff we leave behind accelerates evolution (i.e. mutates and/or kills aka evolutionary pressure) :)

If that didn't cheer you up perhaps this poem by someone calling themselves Deep Snorkeler will, I saw it on ZeroHedge today as a comment on an article about us ordinary civilians being the last to know when nuclear war breaks out, and consider it the best poem I've read in a while:

I Will Be the Last to Know

1. After much thought, I realized I could live

surrounded by mass mental illness.

2. No matter how poor or stupid I was,

I could always find ways to amuse myself.

3. Losing your religion is like losing your virginity.

Did you really lose anything?

4. Eventually, I will live on Mars, in a watercress dome.

Posted by: Outsider | May 11, 2017 8:09:47 AM | 5

>>>> Hoarsewhisperer | May 11, 2017 6:57:30 AM | 2

Actually, Russia tested a 500 Megaton bomb 40 or 50 years ago. But it's reserved for Washington so Hanford is out of luck...

No, they developed a 100 Mt thermonuclear bomb and tested it at 50 Mt as they were worried that detonating it at 100 MT was too dangerous. It's known as the RDS-220 but the West nicknamed it the Tsar Bomba
If it was used to "clean up" Hanford by exploding it close to the ground you'd have a massive radioactive plume consisting of nuclear by-products from the bomb particularly if the fireball contacted the ground and most of the nuclear waste from Hanford. As a doomsday weapon, Hanford would be a good approximation depending on the wind direction.

Posted by: Ghostship | May 11, 2017 8:26:38 AM | 6

>>>> Hoarsewhisperer | May 11, 2017 6:57:30 AM | 2
If you really want to clean up Hanford, you have to hope that the Judoon pay us another visit but send it to the Sun (not newspaper) rather than the Moon (not Ban Ki).

Posted by: Ghostship | May 11, 2017 8:34:23 AM | 7

@4 Lea

What I don't get is the US insistence on the private sector, everything else being "communist"

Profit and power. Corporations and banks see publicly owned utilities, roads, railroads etc. as potential profit that is being squandered by the big bad government. If they had their way they would get the state to privatize everything...they practically already have. But they want it all...and since they own and control the media they pass on their fear of "communism" (i.e. anything that limits their profit potential) to the masses. Public utilities? Communism. Single payer healthcare? Communism. And the brainwashed public parrots this crap like turkeys voting for Thanksgiving.

The ruling class also knows that the biggest threat to their profits, and therefore power, comes from the masses of workers who trudge off to work every day to make the rich richer. So they need to keep the people believing that unfettered capitalism = freedom and liberty while checks on private profit and power = tyranny and oppression. It's ludicrous because the opposite is true. Capitalism without constraints is pure robbery and exploitation and only harms ordinary people while the super rich get richer. The ruling class fear what will happen if the people clue in that they are being taken for an epic ride. So they keep up the "commies are out to get ya" mantra that many Americans have internalized. And the corporations and banks (represented by the likes of Trump, Obama and their Goldman Sachs cabinets) want to keep it that way.

You (generic plural version) get sick, lose your job, sell the house to pay for treatment and die five years later broke, destitute and living out of your car...that's freedom and liberty capitalist style. Single-payer healthcare like every other Western capitalist pseudo-democracy? That's the top of the slippery slope to Stalinist dictatorship and forced nationalization...aka COMMUNISM! People are catching on to the scam but unfortunately many are so indoctrinated they rail on about Obama the "Marxist" and the Democrat "Maoists" etc. etc. instead of learning about how they are being shafted and putting their energy into reigning in the bandits and thieves of the capitalist class. Eventually, though, they will "get it" so the ever paranoid ueber rich and their sycophants keep the commie paranoia dialed up to 11.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | May 11, 2017 8:40:18 AM | 8

"What is to be done with that section of the possessors of specific talents whose talent is for moneymaking? History and daily experience teach us that if the world does not devise some plan of ruling them, they will rule the world. Now it is not desirable that they should rule the world; for the secret of moneymaking is to care for nothing else and to work at nothing else; and as the world's welfare depends on operations by which no individual can make money, whilst its ruin by war and drink and disease and drugs and debauchery is enormously profitable to moneymakers, the supremacy of the moneymaker is the destruction of the State. A society which depends on the incentive of private profit is doomed."
(George Bernard Shaw in his Preface on Bosses to 'The Millionairess'; today he would undoubtedly have added environmental disaster to the list of threats to the world's welfare)

Posted by: Shakesvshav | May 11, 2017 9:24:43 AM | 9

Since couple of people touched upon U.S. Constitution ...

The Duplicitous U.S. Constitution
As many political, legal, and history scholars have acknowledged, the U.S. Constitution was constructed to be an ideological and legal document intended to secure the interests of the virtuous and enlightened gentry who, like royalty, considered themselves to be ordained with a natural right to rule the nation in perpetuity.

Posted by: ex-sarajlija | May 11, 2017 9:34:16 AM | 10

DOE contractor deals within the nuclear weapons program are pretty shady at best.

A Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear waste plant in Washington State is unsafe, broken, and mismanaged, according to a leaked internal evaluation, possibly adding additional delay to a project that has cost $19 billion over 25 years without treating any waste.. . .

DOE’s less-than-objective relationship with Bechtel is also well known. In April 2014, the agency hired Frank Klotz, one of Bechtel’s top consultants, to run the National Nuclear Security Administration. Klotz required a special ethics waiver for conflicts of interest. As POGO wrote at the time, this “allowed [Klotz] to make decisions that could mean big business for his former client, at a time when POGO and Members of Congress are sounding the alarm about…costly nuclear weapons projects.”

Lockheed Martin is also involved in various pad-the-contract games at Hanford:

Posted by: nonsense factory | May 11, 2017 9:41:35 AM | 11

thanks b and for the additional notes from @3 heros, @4 lea and @11 nf... perhaps spending some money to build america, as opposed to making war in faraway places would be a good start? i guess we can't have that though..

Posted by: james | May 11, 2017 10:02:30 AM | 12

Posted by: Ghostship | May 11, 2017 8:26:38 AM | 6
(Russia's 500 Mt Bomb was only 50 Mt)

Yes. Thank you. Forgive the extra '0' and my dotage.
Unlike your good self, I checked Wiki AFTER I'd posted my recollection.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 11, 2017 10:18:44 AM | 13

This might be a dumb question, but I always wondered why we couldn't shoot this shit into the sun? Is there too much of it? Or would it not be worth the risk of a rocket failing and raining contamination on everything?

Posted by: Pareto | May 11, 2017 10:48:58 AM | 14

I've realized lately that the calculus of short term thinking describes a spiral that circles the drain.


Fortunately for life, there is a practically infinite numbers of planets to experiment on. Humans never realized that Earth is not a guaranteed success.

Posted by: Shh | May 11, 2017 10:55:42 AM | 15

Posted by: Pareto | May 11, 2017 10:48:58 AM | 14

It's not a stupid question but there are lots of hurdles, many of which are getting lower with each year that passes...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 11, 2017 10:59:08 AM | 16

I see no problem. When we've finished the job making earth a place no higher live form can exist the Klingons will invite us to their place. Sure as hell.

Posted by: Pnyx | May 11, 2017 11:01:03 AM | 17

The insanely toxic nuclear wastes created through the production of nuclear weapons and the use of nuclear power must be isolated from the biosphere for periods of time beyond human comprehension. Hundreds of thousands of tons of high-level wastes (now mostly in the form of spent or used fuel rods, sitting in pools next to nuclear power plants) must be stored for at least 100,000 years, otherwise (at the very least) vast areas of the Earth will become uninhabitable radioactive wastelands.

The 53 million gallons of highly-radioactive liquid wastes at Hanford were created when spent/used fuel assemblies were dissolved in nitric acid, in order to separate the plutonium (created in the rods by the bombardment of uranium with neutrons), so that the plutonium could be used for US nuclear weapons.

Yes, nuclear power was designed to make plutonium for weapons, not electricity, which has made the two processes inseparable and has led to the creation of thousands of tons of plutonium, a substance which previously only existed in nature infinitesimal quantities. 15 millionths of a gram of plutonium, if inhaled, will cause lung cancer; a few thousandths of a gram, if inhaled, will kill you from pulmonary fibrosis. About 2000 metric tons of plutonium have been produced by nuclear power plants (reactor grade plutonium is also weapons-usable). Plutonium has a half-life of 24,100 years; figure 10 half-lives (241,000 years) for about 1/1000th of it to still remain in the biosphere.

According to Robert Alvarez, about 40% of the long-lived radioactivity that resides in spent fuel pools comes from radioactive Cesium. The radionuclide cesium137 has a half-life of 30 years. Its most common chemical forms are highly water soluble and will easily make their way into contaminated ecosystems; because cesium is in the same atomic family as potassium (it mimics potassium), plants tend to selectively absorb cesium, especially those plants that are rich in potassium (mushrooms, berries). Cesium will also bioconcentrate and bioaccumulate as it moves up the food chains.

When the Chernobyl reactor exploded and burned, most of the radioactive cesium in the ruptured and burning fuel rods became a gas and escaped to be distributed by the winds (cesium is highly volatile element that becomes a liquid at 83F and a gas at 1240F). Look at a map of the closed zone of Chernobyl and notice that the key to the map specifies the amount of cesium137 per square kilometer: land containing greater than 40 curies of cesium137 makes the land uninhabitable (see ).

There are 88 curies of radiation per gram of cesium 137, thus less than half a gram of cesium 137 made into a gas and evenly distributed over a square kilometer will leave that land uninhabitable for one to three centuries. This translates into 1.2 grams of cesium per square mile (a US dime weights 2.7 grams). There is about a ton of radioactive cesium in each of the spent fuel pools that sit next to US nuclear power plants (about 104 such pools).

Chernobyl released a small fraction of the cesium137 found in a single US spent fuel pool. These are some of the consequences from the Chernobyl release (see ):

--The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, in a 2011 report called "Health Effects of Chernobyl," found that 25 years after the disaster, more than 90 percent of "liquidators"—the soldiers and civilians, numbering at least 740,000, who fought to contain the reactor fire and clean up afterwards—were severely ill or had become invalids.

--According to the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, between 12,000 and 83,000 genetically damaged children will eventually be born in "affected countries of the Chernobyl region," while 30,000 to 207,000 such children will be born worldwide due to the disaster. These cases will take time to appear—only 10 percent of the overall expected damage can be seen in the first generation after exposure.

--The "TORCH-2016" report, an independent scientific evaluation of Chernobyl's health effects based entirely upon peer-reviewed sources, finds that about 5 million people in Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia live in areas still highly contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster (with more than 40 kilobecquerels of cesium-137 per square meter). These areas include 18,000 square kilometers in Belarus, 12,000 square kilometers in Ukraine, and 16,000 square kilometers in Russia. About 400 million people live in less contaminated areas (with between 4 and 40 kilobecquerels of cesium-137 per square meter).

--The unfortunate people who must live on these contaminated lands—especially infants and children—suffer greatly from the effects of the long-lived radionuclides (primarily cesium-137) that have contaminated the forests, soils, and foodstuffs to which they are constantly exposed. In 2011, the National Ministry of Emergencies of Ukraine issued a national report entitled "Twenty-five Years after Chernobyl Accident: Safety for the Future." The report found that by 2001, no more than 10 percent of the children living in the seriously contaminated zones of Ukraine were considered healthy. Prior to the dispersal of radionuclides from the Chernobyl explosion, 90 percent had been healthy.

There truly is no end in sight for dealing with radioactive waste. It is madness to continue to make more of this evil stuff and foolish to allow hundreds of thousands of tons of it to sit in spent fuel pools, which must be constantly cooled -- otherwise they will heat to boiling, exposing the fuel assemblies to steam and air, which will allow them to rupture and in some cases ignite.

For an excellent documentary on the construction of geologic storage for high-level waste in Finland, see "Onkalo, Into Eternity"

Posted by: Perimetr | May 11, 2017 11:42:43 AM | 18


in 1970 Washington was already known as the "Hot State" as in radioactive. Chemical engineers were already warning, "You don't want to ever visit, not safe."

We humans are dumb always wanting to adapt extreme measures at the peril of our own extinction, dare the devil just because we can.

Posted by: likklemore | May 11, 2017 12:12:47 PM | 19

Chatted with China Hand and he thinks that Hanford will never be cleaned but become an "in situ" depot.

It is simply too difficult and too expensive to pack the stuff up in a safe way and to put it somewhere else. They will continue to put dirt and concrete on top of it. The water below? Who cares ...

I agree - some stuff in those railway tunnels could only be handled by robots and its cut up and packaging in decent sizes would be extremely difficult and dangerous. Very expensive if anyone would ever try.

Same happens in Chernobyl and will happen in Fukushima. Encase the site, hope for the best and let the grandchildren take care of it ...

Posted by: b | May 11, 2017 12:30:49 PM | 20

Perimetr says:

Yes, nuclear power was designed to make plutonium for weapons, not electricity,...

not a moot point. well over ten years passed from the time the atomic bomb was developed and dropped on two Japanese cities to when that extraordinary power was attached to the public power grid.

but i'll leave that one for all you psychology majors out there to ponder.

Posted by: john | May 11, 2017 12:44:21 PM | 21

Heros @ 3

so the plant employees were instructed to pour it all down a series of old wells... straight into the ground water.

This has happened all over the U.S., especially on DOD & DOE sites. We fought consequences of this same thing with the Air force wrt the Kirtland Jet Fuel Spill.

My Grandfather and all 3 of his sons died prematurely of cancer, 3 of them from pancreatic cancer.

Again, far more common then publicly acknowledged. There is no HHS, CDC or EPA database that tracks this and no attempts have been made to do so by the federal government. My dad died of complications from Parkinsons, almost certainly contracted from his 40 years working at the Livermore Lab.

DOE and DOD regularly lie about their contamination of (especially) water supplies. One of the worst was Le Jeune Marine Basemeager settlement was finally reached just a few months ago.

This is just latest problem at Hanford. 2nd generation (eg. to replace original leaking tanks) storage tanks containing nuclear waste. And this, just the latest. The Savannah Georgia site is almost as bad as Hanford. Several of the unlined landfills Savannah dumped waste in are making people sick, and nothing is being done. West Lake perhaps best example: underground fires partially fueled by nuke waste in population centers causing documented respiratory illness.

50 US Air Force bases on Superfund for water table contamination, we (Albuquerque/Kirtland) one of the few getting any kind of cleanup at all. Superfund has been gutted. Over 200 military bases in all on Superfund.

As hard as it was to get anything done (I took 4 years off to fight for cleanup of Kirtland) under previous administrations, it will be exponentially worse under Trump.

All this should be a national priority, yet it's barely on the public radar and minimally covered by media. Yet we've budgeted 100's of $$billions for new nukes and refurbishment and gutting US Healthcare so Donald can give massive taxcuts to his wealthy puppet masters.

Sick (no pun intended) stuff. In my experience, biggest reason for this is Joe Q public just won't get off their butts and get involved.

Posted by: jdmckay | May 11, 2017 1:11:02 PM | 22

From the outset, Hanford's activities as a US Department of Energy site, were never subject to any regulation, legal standard or any real Congressional oversight masquerading behind the bogus name of 'national security'. in other words, all DOE nuclear "research' facilities operate without any concern for public health and safety.

on the other hand, the commercial nuclear industry is required to follow the fig-leaf of NRC 'regulations' which do nothing to protect the public from its daily release of radioactive gases and contamination of public waters.

the only advantage to requiring DOE facilities to be 'licensed' is it might allow the public more opportunity to demand information and be subject to FOIA requests.

Posted by: Marnie | May 11, 2017 1:24:21 PM | 23

a quote from confucius is in order...

"...wanting good government in their own states, they first established order in their own families; wanting order in the home, they first disciplined themselves; desiring self-discipline, they rectified their own hearts; and wanting to rectify their hearts, they sought precise verbal definitions of their inarticulate thoughts (the tones given off by the heart)....

Posted by: james | May 11, 2017 2:09:14 PM | 24

b @20--

"The water below..." is already being contaminated, and that water feeds into the Columbia River, then Pacific Ocean. Many of us living in Oregon and Washington do give a damn about where the water goes. But it appears most people prefer to be The Walking Dead when it comes to confronting the environmental death spiral humanity has caused and now begins to reap. Afterall, Jesus died for our sins, so we can sin all we want, correct?

Posted by: karlof1 | May 11, 2017 2:14:17 PM | 25

@jdmckay 22:

"50 US Air Force bases on Superfund for water table contamination, we (Albuquerque/Kirtland) one of the few getting any kind of cleanup at all. Superfund has been gutted. Over 200 military bases in all on Superfund."

Even assuming "the science" on AGW isn't just another money racket like the perpetual war on terrorism, the hundreds of billions siphoned off into elitist scams would be far better spent on clean ups of this sort. Its not going to happen because this is actually the goal: soak up wealth and divide and conquer.

As I mentioned in my post above, you have to understand the history behind the people who have created these environmental nightmares: they are responsible for over 200 years of never ending wars, untold millions murdered, the hijacking of our entire monetary system, the brainwashing of our youth, the monopoly control of our media and state run education systems, their almost complete control of the MIC, and most of all their centuries old war against our Christian cultures and our peoples.

At Bohemian grove they celebrate the "cremation of care" ceremony. These cult members are following the traditions of Ordo Templi Oreintis where they have to cast aside "care". These kind of environmental disasters are proof that the perpatrators have cast aside care, and in their satanic world this gives them much more power. They also get more satanic power through the sacrifice of children, which like a fukushima or Hanford is the ultimate proof of "cremation of care".

Posted by: Heros | May 11, 2017 2:26:11 PM | 26

"Doses greater than 100 rem received over a short time period are likely to cause acute radiation syndrome (ARS), possibly leading to death within weeks if left untreated.
Much lower doses, received over longer periods of time, will significantly increase the risk of cancer."

From b's article.

And herein lies the secret to Fidel Castro's early departure from politics and Chavez's un-relenting cancer. A hotel room with some
material in the bed? A piece of material underneath his seat at some meeting?

Trust the CIA ti find the right spot.

Posted by: CarlD | May 11, 2017 2:39:32 PM | 27

no regulations allowed on the wehrmacht. national security.
Energy usage of the United States military

The United States Department of Defense is one of the largest single consumers of energy in the world, responsible for 93% of all US government fuel consumption in 2007 (Air Force: 52%; Navy: 33%; Army: 7%. Other DoD: 1%)

there was a blip in the media a couple of years ago on the us wehrmacht's use of 'burn sites' in the countries it occupies all over the world to 'dispose of' really vile stuff. not least affected were the grunts is uniform who were given the matches.

it's good to see a couple of instances of ground water pollution directly caused by the us department of war reported above.

hanford is ... will be ... a vile tumor injected into mother earth by the anti-human, anti-life us wehrmacht. unless and until both hanford and the us wehrmacht are literally torn out, root and branch, from the us social fabric the degradation of life on earth can only continue and accelerate. one from column 'd' one from column 'r' no difference.

in addition to all this off-hand destruction the us wehrmacht has murdered millions since the beginning of the new american century, destroyed whole nations and cultures, and consumed the resources necessary to provide for the welfare of human and all other forms of life on earth. all in the course off pursuing its mission.

the financiers, the fusiliers, and the fossil-fuelers ... the agents of the apocalypse ... institutionalized suicide. the folks in ac/dc could care less. they're rolling in the dough over the course of their lifetimes - they hope - and that's the only meaningful consideration to them.

Posted by: jfl | May 11, 2017 2:43:01 PM | 28

Nuclear waste, glycophosate, chromated copper arsenate - all part of our environment now thanks to the ingenuity of the US.

Posted by: Peter AU | May 11, 2017 3:07:21 PM | 29

Granted that it's a bit over fifty years since my two semesters of nuclear power reactor design, but I do remember some of what I learned. If the radiation before the cave-in was not a danger, a "refill" will end the immediate hazard. Radiation does not leak through shielding like water leaks through porous material.

Hanford's problem is the decayed "capsules" of radioactive waste material which has leaked into the ground, thence to aquifers and on to streams. That's been going on since the first storage of waste in inadequate containers, decades ago.

Posted by: Desertrat | May 11, 2017 3:09:25 PM | 30

Come to think of it, both the US natural environment, and their political environment are in the same shape. Very toxic.

Posted by: Peter AU | May 11, 2017 3:57:13 PM | 31

@Perimetr 18

Enjoy you comments on the hazard of the nuclear age and hope this addition information is useful:

This recent Hanford incident was a very minor incident. The major releases of radionuclides at the Hanford site have been minimized in the mainstream media:
“Hanford downwinders were kept in the dark”

Even the Downwinders review is incomplete, as it missed a major study the pointed out that up to five million curies of radiation was released from the single pass plutonium reactors at the Hanford site:
“Sediment Quality and Eco-risk Assessment Factors for a Major River System”

Even more scary was the K-basin ponds where 2,100 metric tons of Zircaloy-clad, metallic uranium spent nuclear fuel and about 3.4 metric tons of aluminum-clad metallic uranium spent fuel were stored:

Somehow the federal bureaucrats didn’t realize that metallic uranium is pyrophoric and even the Washington state DEQ eventually minimized/disguised the issue:

The uranium containing fuel rods were eventually cleaned up once someone finally realized that an earthquake or plane crash (Al Qaeda?) on the ponds would cause the high burnout spent metallic uranium to catch fire releasing massive quantities of cesium-137 , strontium-90 and a host of other daughter products into the atmosphere (see DOE origin code for concentrations of daughter products vs burnout). Such an incident would have created a massive dead zone whose extent would be dependent on wind pattern and velocity at the time.

Posted by: Krollchem | May 11, 2017 4:14:55 PM | 32

Pareto #14

I had that thought for several years but when it was pointed out to me the huge tonnage of material that would have to be "exported" via hugely expensive rockets, the scenario seemed much less feasible. And yes, the number of rockets that would have to be used would increase the probability of "a rocket failing and raining contamination on everything". I'm not a statistician but I'd guess greater than 100%.

To get a feel for the immensity of the rocket transport scenario consider Perimetr's #18 post:

Hundreds of thousands of tons of high-level wastes (now mostly in the form of spent or used fuel rods, sitting in pools next to nuclear power plants) must be stored for at least 100,000 years, otherwise (at the very least) vast areas of the Earth will become uninhabitable radioactive wastelands.

The 53 million gallons of highly-radioactive liquid wastes at Hanford were created when spent/used fuel assemblies were dissolved in nitric acid, in order to separate the plutonium (created in the rods by the bombardment of uranium with neutrons), so that the plutonium could be used for US nuclear weapons. (my Bold)

Posted by: juannie | May 11, 2017 4:15:30 PM | 33

Sorry, comment 32 should read five million curies of radiation per year at the Hanford site.

Posted by: Krollchem | May 11, 2017 4:17:19 PM | 34

Was a big fan of the writings of Andrew McKillop, but he disappeared a few years back.
He wrote a book about the Nuclear industry that might be a good read:

The Doomsday Machine: The High Price of Nuclear Energy

Posted by: aaaa | May 11, 2017 4:55:08 PM | 35

The only reason why Europe is a bit more sensitized on these matters, is because of its much higher population density. In the US (and more so Canada or Russia), it's easier to play 'out of sight, of of mind' - not so in Europe.

I agree with whoever b quotes saying that it won't be removed, will be stored in situ in some kind of sarcophagus or whatever. Where should it be moved to, and who should move it? Even robots 'die' at these radiation levels...

Posted by: smuks | May 11, 2017 5:35:48 PM | 36

The initial inspiration for nuclear technology - to create one hell of a weapon - contained a little obscure footnote, camouflaged by military censorship and “too cheap to meter” atoms for peace propaganda: Okay, you can indeed successfully construct the means of massive instantaneous destruction, but intrinsic to it, along with it, comes massive slow motion long term harm to or destruction of life.

Life's wondrous intricate DNA instruction manual is based on stable atoms with a very modest component of unstable atoms.

Intrinsic to nuclear technology, inescapable to the bargain, are the creation of unstable dangerous to life and in some cases extremely durable weird alien atoms.

In conjunction with the military and so-called 'national security' default positions of censorship, dishonesty and brazen capacity to justify all manner of depravity, this technology's best case scenario from the very beginning was always headed for some variation on the theme of ongoing catastrophe, large and small.

But our circumstance also includes a globally dominant ignorant and cunning oligarchical element with a powerful satanic component, conjoined with militarism and nuclear technology.

Nothing we hear about what is happening at Hanford can be assumed to be true: it would be completely anomalous and out of character for the nuclear industry or govt agencies related to nuclear if the public was not being exposed to misdirection, spin, censorship and lies, as well as undisclosed amounts and varieties of radioactive contamination.

The formal radiation monitoring systems, as Michael van Broekhoven at Allegedly Apparent Blog has demonstrated over and over, are used to hide and distort what is actually going on.

It's all madness. Nuclear technology is our deadly dark side. So much enthusiasm, so big an effort, for so much deadly foolishness.

Posted by: canuck | May 11, 2017 6:26:52 PM | 37

when Chernobyl happened the west jeered at soviet technology and competence..but now we've had Fukushima and this...capitalism esp US kind and nukes dont mix well

Posted by: brian | May 11, 2017 6:41:29 PM | 38

However, according to Gorbachev’s 1996 memoirs, it was the Chernobyl nuclear accident, rather than perestroika (or Ronald Reagan’s increased arms spending), which destroyed the Soviet Union.

As Gorbachev wrote in 2006:

The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl 20 years ago this month, even more than my launch of perestroika, was perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union five years later. Indeed, the Chernobyl catastrophe was an historic turning point: there was the era before the disaster, and there is the very different era that has followed.


The Chernobyl disaster, more than anything else, opened the possibility of much greater freedom of expression, to the point that the system as we knew it could no longer continue. It made absolutely clear how important it was to continue the policy of glasnost, and I must say that I started to think about time in terms of pre-Chernobyl and post-Chernobyl.

The price of the Chernobyl catastrophe was overwhelming, not only in human terms, but also economically. Even today, the legacy of Chernobyl affects the economies of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

Was that a price that the United States was prepared to inflict on the Soviet Union to "win" the so-called Cold War? At one time I would have thought not but now I'm not so sure.

Posted by: Ghostship | May 11, 2017 7:16:49 PM | 39


thanks for taking the time to post this..... and everyone else as well. What an education. Mankind really doesn't have a solid plan for the 'waste' and never did.

Posted by: bernie | May 11, 2017 7:40:20 PM | 40

brian : "when Chernobyl happened the west jeered at soviet technology and competence"

I don't recall seeing anyone (intelligent) from the west doing so. I remember being sick watching those brave souls atop the reactor and thinking they had 30 days to live, max.

I remember being told by a nuclear power board (Blair, Nebraska) that among all the expenses was a fund to pay for three guards for 10,000 years. I said the half life alone was some 25,000 years and one said, well, we don't have to think that far ahead. It appears the real costs of nuclear are buried in convenient budgetary considerations.

Posted by: Bardi | May 11, 2017 7:55:09 PM | 41

Thanks b, and all. Very constructive info. Something we'll NEVER see on the Corporate Media. In my 70 odd years, I've never seen humanity in such trouble.

Posted by: ben | May 11, 2017 8:08:08 PM | 42

P.S.--And all in the name of PROFITS!!

Posted by: ben | May 11, 2017 8:10:21 PM | 43

We should be recycling the waste like some other countries unstead of disposing it. But the petro dollar must be supported

Posted by: Pft | May 11, 2017 8:15:34 PM | 44

The symptoms of misplaced and misguided priorities. Years ago, I saw a National Geographic article on Hanford. There was a photo with nothing but circles of storage dumps far into the horizon. And the image of them backing a train into a tunnel reminds me of the metaphor of sweeping something under the rug.

Heros 3
They are still cleaning up the local Redstone Arsenal after all these years. In WWII they made chemical weapons there and afterward Army/NASA missile/rocket development meant materials dumped in the same way you mentioned.

Posted by: Curtis | May 11, 2017 8:19:34 PM | 45

nuclear reactors to boil water. if it hadn't been for the bombs this nonsense would never have come about.

i had hoped that with fukushima an international effort could have been mounted, to contain the monstrous folly there ... but also to unite the technologically developed nations ... japan, korea, china, russia, the members of the eu, the us of a ... in the development of photosynthetic hydrogen as our energy currency, a distributed source of energy at once doing away with environment degradation as well as the societal degradation that comes along with centralized control of energy. not a chance of course. nothing rational will ever be undertaken as long as there is an 'angle' the usual minority can use to 'capitalize' on an alternative.

our problem is pervasive ... the financiers, the fusiliers, the fossil-fuelers. we need to realize that, and to proceed on all three fronts at once. and, of course, we must manage to seize political control ... to drive the evil clowns out of our political temples ... before we can even begin.

when it comes to 'the people' as agents of change ... there's still no 'there' there. nothing good can come about until we put ourselves on the political map, in at least a majority of the countries on earth.

Posted by: jfl | May 11, 2017 8:36:14 PM | 46

I remember what finally motivated us to take action as kids growing up in Aotearoa. The local nuclear regulatory agency had just increased the 'safe' levels for Strontium in food products after it was discovered that massive increases in those substances occurred in cows' milk just after the French military 'tested' weapons up at Moruroa. It was only a small increase in permissible levels a mere two orders of magnitude. After all an agrarian socialist economy cannot run if the economy's primary produce is deemed inedible.
So we took to blowing up french businesses in retaliation. It was all very chaotic and unfocused kinda reminded me of that Guerrillas show on TV - the period was about the same but we were a bit younger (16-17 y.o.) needless to say the only thing we really learned was the depth of penetration law enforcement have in the community - after being rounded up and subjected to violent interrogation.
A lesson for all involved but it was seeds like that and the over the top establishment reaction which caused the push to keep the country free of nuclear devices. Of course another much later lesson was in neoliberalism when the pseudo-leftist political movement which banned nuclear devices then used that as a cover for massive rorts on all the socially owned enterprises that had been established in Aotearoa over the proceeding 150 years.
It is this shifting of perceived priorities - often led by a corrupt media but also a simple byproduct of humans' easy acceptance of maintaining two contradictory positions simultaneously which has rendered the traditional ideas of democracy unworkable.
Fixing the mess created by boils on the asshole of humanity such as Hanford is vital, but not at the expense of other issues, unfortunately our (humans) ability to block out the noise of issues which conflict with whatever each one of us has decided to consider to be the 'most vital' has resulted in a chaotic resistance easily fragmented by the assholes, one that would rather waste time & energy fighting over triage decisions than resisting the enemy.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 11, 2017 10:13:40 PM | 47

Bardi is right. I was in Europe during Chernobyl, first in Norway as it blew and then after a car ferry to West Germany driving all the way through West Germany and Austria, and then through the Iron Curtain into Hungary as the radioactive clouds moved around (if my memory is correct: mostly to the east, north, and northwest of Ukraine). A while later I took the same journey in reverse. I should emphasize that the traveling had nothing to do with Chernobyl, and of course it required applying and getting approvement some time in advance.

No one in the west nor east mocked or jeered anything to my knowledge, or if they did they kept very quiet about it in public. Or maybe everyone I meet in person is always on their best behavior... lol :P

Of course this was all before the public internet so there's that too :3

Whenever it was a topic I noticed nothing but calm fear/worry about it as well as sympathy and gratitude for the heroism and sacrifice everyone were aware of was and had been taking place. At least some were also relieved that there hadn't been a prolonged attempt at covering it up, nor any belligerence from anyone geopolitically. It was all very public and it seems it and updates were in the news every day for at least a month or two, everyone knew or understood the special clean up squads and those constructing the initial sarcophagus were very unlikely to die of old age.

A very different world *snip* I've deleted what turned into a long rant here :D

Grok half-life people; you haven't and are being far too binary.

Posted by: Outsider | May 12, 2017 12:12:32 AM | 48

How many did you kill Debsisdead?

Posted by: Outsider | May 12, 2017 12:26:18 AM | 49

@ outsider #49

How many did you kill Debsisdead?
None. We may have been young & stupid, but we did ensure (as best we could) the buildings were empty of humans b4 initiating. Of course fact that there were few injuries apart from some burns to me & another and some hand damage to one of us was more good luck than good management. The point of the exercise was to damage french businesses, not to kill or injure kiwi workers no matter how misinformed their opinion of their employers might be.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 12, 2017 12:44:07 AM | 50

Bob hope on the bikini island,
'“We located the one spot on Earth that hadn’t been touched by the war and blew it to hell,'

Posted by: denk | May 12, 2017 12:58:32 AM | 51

Thanks for that link denk. One of the things we quickly discovered after the penny dropped about Aotearoa's radiation exposure and we began taking a look at the effects on Pacific Islands close to the 'test' sites, was that few people understood how little self determination most of the Pacific Islands have.
People then and now think of Gaugin paintings or the stupidities of Margaret Mead's 'study' but they rarely go deeper to discover that post WW2 amerika seized just about all of Polynesia west of hawaii and has been encouraging their military to do whatever the hell they want to on the islands ever since.
It is true that France held on to their dependencies solving a slight administrative hiccup by making them regions of Paris for administrative/political purposes. That means while those living in the French Pacific colonies do get to vote, there is absolutely no chance of the few hundred thousand votes (if the Pacifica inhabitants of those colonies decided to express their democratic rights) could possibly rise above or any any other way influence outcomes when competing against the millions of Parisian voters.
The populations of amerikan colonies are subjected to carrot and stick methods when/if they try to find freedom from the land of the free which is less & less frequently especially since amerika controls the UN (many of the amerikan colonies are meant to be short term UN trusts for amerika to aid the shift to self determination ha fucking ha).
Citizens have come to understand that amerika will never give them their freedom - no matter what. amerikans don't care - the only time the situation of colonized Pacific Islands penetrated the consciousness of amerikans was when some asshole amerikan set up clothing sweat shops so that he could pay shit wages (of course federal minimum wage deals didn't apply in the colonies - what do unwhites want with money anyway?) yet the corporation employing them could still stick a made in/product of amerika label on the clothes.
Some dem hack pol put a stop to that, claiming that his major concern was the welfare of the colonized people -in fact his only real interest was protecting the interests of the members of the union which sponsored him. Consequently the upshot of this scungy pol's caring was the closure of the clothing factories and the cessation of an opportunity for the colonised to gain a measure of economic independence.

In the interests of full disclosure I do need to point out that one of us anti-french activists was a young bloke who had just turned 16 - he was Samoan - while most of the rest of us whitefellas were subjected to an avuncular tirade from the judge and not much else, our Samoan friend copped a lengthy prison sentence "And I don't mean youth detention I mean a 'proper prison' - that is the only thing people like you understand" said the judge.
Back then there was open institutional racism toward Pacifica people - even worse the pols had done a top job of encouraging mutual mistrust between indigenous Tangata Whenua and Pacifica peoples from outside Aotearoa.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 12, 2017 2:18:11 AM | 52

Meh. If our debt is good enough to leave for our great great grandchildren to sort out, so is our waste. If everything goes to plan, there will be no great great grandchildren to worry about it anyway, so why should I worry about it now?

It's sarcasm, before anyone gets their panties in a twist...

Posted by: insanity | May 12, 2017 2:46:56 AM | 53

Debsisdead 52

Thanks for your input Deb.

The Marshall islanders couldnt sue fukus in the world court.
As we all know, ICJ has never prosecuted a white war criminal,
oops, except ex Yugo's Slobodan Milosevic.
As a Slavic, I guess Slobo didnt qualifies as pure 'white'.

The islanders tried a murkkan court, but the charge was thrown out by the judge citing some obscure technical discrepancies.

No human rights NGO's or United Nation's Special Rapporteur ever take up the cudjel for
The Marshall islanders, Chagosians, Okinawans, Jeju islanders ,..
those are the 'unpeople', 'undermenchen'.

Posted by: denk | May 12, 2017 3:12:44 AM | 54

Encase the site, hope for the best and let the grandchildren take care of it ...


We have had the bomb on our minds since 1945. It was first our weaponry and then our diplomacy, and now it's our economy. How can we suppose that something so monstrously powerful would not, after forty years, compose our identity? The great golem we have made against our enemies is our culture--its logic, its faith, its vision (E.L.Doctorow)

Posted by: john | May 12, 2017 6:09:02 AM | 55

It is Friday, the day after. Google News does not have this featured at the main page. One has to search to find an NBC online story about it. Last night I did not see coverage of this on NBC or ABC. The Trump interview's the headline. It's a very twisted myopia. And the local news has been running segments of the national news from the network. Why? Do they want those main impressions of the news reinforced by repetition? I am very thankful for the internet and the alt media that has sprouted from it.

Posted by: Curtis | May 12, 2017 7:46:52 AM | 56

The French Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire (IRSN) ("Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute") modeled the Chernobyl plume. They produced a video which shows how the radioactive plume spread across Europe Russia, and Eurasia (from April 26 through May 9 (1986) . . . actually most of the Northern Hemisphere, although the image does not go that far.
or for a shorter video (that is slightly sped up and only shows the plume spreading) see

Posted by: Perimetr | May 12, 2017 8:16:32 AM | 57

Nuclear 'waste' is potentially a valuable resource and ought to be stored i such a way that it will be possible to retrieve it and begin exploiting it in the future as AI and robot technology evolve.
Somebody brought up dumping it in the sun. But there is a huge cost associated with lifting payloads(<=very appropriate name) against the earths gravitational grip. In addition it isnt obvious that the sun is a safe storage place since radioactive particles may easily escape the suns gravity so the 'shit' might return home by itself.

Posted by: Peter Grafström | May 12, 2017 8:39:57 AM | 58

This might be a dumb question, but I always wondered why we couldn't shoot this shit into the sun? Is there too much of it? Or would it not be worth the risk of a rocket failing and raining contamination on everything?
Posted by: Pareto | May 11, 2017 10:48:58 AM | 14

Problems can't be solved by ppl who focus on the difficulties instead of the possibilities. One (of many) possibilities, considering the 'vast' quantities involved, is building a large space station/departure lounge, just above low earth orbit (for semi-permanence). The orbit would be in the same plane as the solar system and circa 105(?) minutes duration.

Re-usable rockets from Earth would carry containerised N-waste, supplies for the orbiting crew, and JATO-type boosters for launching the containers on the final leg of their journey.

Every 105 minutes there would be a 'window of opportunity' to launch one or more containers into a retrograde orbit (opposite direction to the Earth's orbit around the Sun). From that slower trajectory it could eventually spiral into the Sun.

The retrograde orbit concept is easier said than done and would require the skill of a Rocket Scientist to calculate the vectors of escaping Earth's gravity vs avoiding the possibility of it merely adopting a permanent Solar orbit between Earth and Venus.

Experiments to test the feasibility/pitfalls of this concept could commence next week with current technology, from an existing space station and/or calculated by a Rocket Scientist.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 12, 2017 9:14:19 AM | 59

In addition it isnt obvious that the sun is a safe storage place since radioactive particles may easily escape the suns gravity so the 'shit' might return home by itself.
Posted by: Peter Grafström | May 12, 2017 8:39:57 AM | 58

Yes... about 0.00000001% in a worst case scenario, given the angle subtended by the Earth's diameter at a range of 90 million miles and the fact that everything emitted by the Sun is toxic; not to mention the Sun rotating every ~30 days to distribute the toxins like a lawn sprinkler, etc, etc.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 12, 2017 9:45:13 AM | 60

@ 59

Why not park the stuff in the Lagrange points, it won't be going anywhere anytime soon, and not likely to be blown back home.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | May 12, 2017 12:23:05 PM | 61

@Perimetr 57 Thanks for the link. I dosed myself and my wife with iodine as soon as the iodine-131 was released. My wife's family in Belgium did not take iodine as it was not available and the government did not want to start a panic. It doesn't pay to be a sheep.

As for Hanford, to government used to have special radiation counting room made of pre WWII battleship steel (non-radioactive) in which to measure whole body radiation dose in rems. After 1995 the government got rid of the counting rooms so that no future liability could be proved. There is a bill in the Washington legislature to hold the US government liable for future Hanford worker cancers. I do not hold my breath.

Posted by: Krollchem | May 12, 2017 3:22:08 PM | 62

This url will present a lengthy file on my computer written for ordinary people to gain knowledge of radioactivity. At the time our government was pursueing the possibility of mining in Donegal and also of placing a nuclear facility at Carnsore southern Irish coast.I send it in, although supposing that those who use this blog are already well acquainted with the radiation cycle - but infact some of us who protested at the time felt, and in my case evidently still feel that protest must be held up at any centre of doom that opens up to enlighten further numbers of any ignorant of scientific specifics - which in the case of radioactivity are not acres of numbing scientific jargon but can be readily understood.This file helped a petition of 3,000 people sign in Donegal. file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Sofya/Desktop/jos/glencomcillepapers/submissi.htm

Posted by: Jocelyn Braddell | May 12, 2017 7:13:05 PM | 63

@ 59
Why not park the stuff in the Lagrange points, it won't be going anywhere anytime soon, and not likely to be blown back home.
Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | May 12, 2017 12:23:05 PM | 61

Because it doesn't solve the problem of having the stuff hanging around and posing a potential threat. If it can't be destroyed then it may as well be kept in geologically stable places on Earth in special containment facilities. That's the current plan A (if politicians in such places put their hand up - eg Pangea in ultra-Neolib Oz).
Also, the Lagrange solution calls for additional high-precision navigation stunts after the waste leaves the orbiting departure lounge.
Plus monitoring and fuel reserves to correct deviations from the optimum Lagrange orbit.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 12, 2017 7:55:50 PM | 64

Speaking of nuclear waste dangers, there's a corporation called Entergy that's been on a nuclear plant buying spree. Their business model, and this is no joke and not an exaggeration, is to defer or simply not complete maintenance on both production and safety systems at nuclear plants so that they cut 20 or so years off of their lifespans and get the big government payout for "remediation" and the dismantling of the plant. It's fucking evil.

Posted by: Cresty | May 12, 2017 9:54:24 PM | 65

@ Hoarsewhisperer | May 12, 2017 7:55:50 PM | 64

I don't see where you have thought your reply through. To begin, send those materials, if you could package them in such a manner as to prevent a catastrophic chain reaction from occurring, you are faced in transporting your container through the sun's extended magnetosphere and extended atmosphere where particle temps are of the order of some millions of degrees which extends quite some distance from the star itself. How fast a velocity do you need to accomplish transit before your container melts? Then you have the sun's atmosphere, a turbulent place only contained by the sun's immense gravitational field. You don't even begin to have a clue what might happen during this phase of your transit but most likely your cargo will have become ionised and subject to the sun's magnetosphere, no telling what happens there, and it is not as if this planet has much protection from solar mass ejections. At this point we haven't even arrived at the solar surface, roiling matter that is unlikely to be accurately described by mathematical model even at our level of digital accomplishments.

Lagrange points can be wikipedia'd should any be unfamiliar. They are places where gravitation fields are in equilibrium and exhibit stability as long as the masses generating gravity don't suddenly change. They are about as close to forever as it may be possible to get, the surface of this planet doesn't even come close outside the core continental shields, all else is transitory, here today, gone tomorrow in geologic terms. You cannot predict the next continental rift valley to break up a continent, at least yet. In the Lagrange point, those things captured are all going the same direction at the same velocity, and contact with another object is unlikely to be catastrophic. If a container is ruptured, the material would remain in place until solar winds blow the smallest particles into the interstellar medium. It is a galactic problem then or until the sun goes into its planetary nebula phase, at which time the debris is unlikely to present a problem. Your future may differ.

Thank you for your reply.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | May 13, 2017 6:41:40 AM | 66

The hackers have perhaps done us all a favour by revealing the sinister content of this USA security cyber weapon? If a war was opened and the cyber weapon used - war wounded could not be attended by closed down hospitals.
this is an evil cyber weapon now revealed.

Posted by: Jocelyn Braddell | May 13, 2017 9:30:58 AM | 67

jfl 46
The odd thing I learned from Fukushima is the crazy temp storage of fuel rods in pools in higher levels of the building. That creates the dangers of earthquake damage or lack of cooling water to cause even greater damage. And many reactor operators do this.

Posted by: Curtis | May 13, 2017 9:59:30 AM | 68

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | May 13, 2017 6:41:40 AM | 66
(proposed Lagrande solution)

I thought I explained my quibbles clearly and briefly. If it sounded dismissive I assure you that was not my intent. We are, after all, just bouncing ideas around and are still at "the more the merrier" stage...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 13, 2017 12:32:04 PM | 69

According to NYT, nothing needs to be done and our government is energetically doing exactly that. Antique wastes are not some volatile gases or liquids that can spill, the roof of the collapsed tunnel was covered by a thick layer of dirt that kept covering the wastes after the collapse.

State government did everything possible: urged to investigate the incident, and Secretary of Energy promised to do it mere few hours later. The condensed form of finding will become a reading material in elementary schools "Why do sinkholes sink?".

Sometimes we have to see that mud rackers who are doing good job finding problems etc. do not hit the pay dirt all the time, even when the titles sound promising. For example, recently Russian Spring (Continuation of the Project) informed that "On its first day, Kiev mounted police hit a mother with her baby". A case of Banderovian brutality?

But actually, nothing of the sort. As a young mother walked in a grove near Dnieper river, she was hit by a horse ridden by a girl from the (new) mounted unit, because … the horse got scared of a running dog and swerved. Thus young mother have fallen "onto roots" and was scared that the second horse will trample her or her little daughter. Which did not happen. Police girl offered to call emergency which was decline, and two young women exchanged contact information. Police girl also promised that they will work to make horses less afraid of dogs.

Perhaps not a heroic scene, but in some sense, charming.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 13, 2017 6:38:19 PM | 70

@70 piotr

this may not have been THE catastrophe at hanford ... but hanford is a catastrophe. and this puts that in the news. that's better than brushing it under the rug, although bulldozing sand over the radio-active materials in the tunnel amounts to the same thing. there is no plan for what to do about the radioactive materials at hanford or anywhere else on earth.

@68 curtis

and of course 'temporary' storage has become permanent storage. the amount of radioactive waste held in pools of water at nuclear power plants dwarfs the amounts inside the reactors themselves and is in fact the problem.

as far as shipping our manmade problems to space ... surely that is just a recipe for compounding the problem.

Posted by: jfl | May 13, 2017 7:29:33 PM | 71

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