89 sieverts per hour measured in soil near Columbia River in Washington — Worst contamination just feet from groundwater

Published: February 6th, 2012 at 2:11 pm ET


Title: Plan developed to clean up highly radioactive Hanford spill
Source: Tri-City Herald
Author: By Annette Cary
Date: Feb 6, 2012

Hanford officials have settled on a plan to clean up what may be the most highly radioactive spill at the nuclear reservation.

It depends on calling back into service the 47-year-old, oversized hot cell where the spill occurred to protect workers from the radioactive cesium and strontium that leaked through the hot cell to the soil below.

Radioactivity in the contaminated soil, which is about 1,000 feet from the Columbia River, has been measured at 8,900 rad per hour [89 sieverts per hour]. Direct exposure for a few minutes would be fatal, according to Washington Closure. […]

In the 1980s, cesium and strontium spilled inside the hot cell, according to a 1993 report that referenced the spill. Germany needed a heat source to use for tests of a repository for radioactive waste, which emits heat, and the cesium and strontium were being fabricated into the sources.

“This was concentrated material,” said Mark French, the Department of Energy’s project director for Hanford cleanup along the Columbia River. […]

It migrated down in a open square shape, with the worst contamination down to five or six feet deep, McBride said. There is not evidence that it has reached the ground water which is about 54 feet below the ground there and about 42 feet below the bottom of the hot cell […]

Read the report here

See also:

  • [intlink id=”usatoday-official-concerns-about-uncontrolled-nuclear-reactions-inside-plutonium-facility-near-portland” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”npr-newly-leaked-report-warns-plutonium-levels-hanford-be-higher-claimed-columbia-river-stake-all-area-vitality-washington-governor” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”whistleblower-msnbc-criticality-possible-hanford-could-explosion-like-fukushima-warns-larger-release-radioactive-material-video” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]
Published: February 6th, 2012 at 2:11 pm ET


Related Posts

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67 comments to 89 sieverts per hour measured in soil near Columbia River in Washington — Worst contamination just feet from groundwater

  • Good lord…. that is outrageously hot if those numbers are correct. Not good.

    • Hotter than the worst of Fukushima that we know of?
      Criminal negligence.

      • Article originally carried on New York Times and reprinted in the Sacramento Bee Final, July 27, 1990

        Hanford’s Nuclear Family
        “We were the Children on the Front Lines?
        Mesa, Washington ? I’m sitting in my tractor and reality is sinking in. I’ve just finished taping several national television shows. As I step back into my world, the emotions keep rising up in my chest and I cry, uncontrollably at first. Then it feels good, so I sob silently to myself.
        The worst is finally over for us. Or has it just begun? As “downwinders,? born and raised downwind of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington, we learned several years ago that the government decided ? with cold deliberation ? to use us guinea pigs by releasing radioactivity into our food, water, milk, and air without our consent.
        Now, we’ve learned that we can expect continuing cancer cases from our exposure in their …

    • Anthony Anthony

      YIKES People!!!! **Direct exposure for a few minutes would be fatal, according to Washington Closure. […]**

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    89 Sieverts? More than 20 times the “usually fatal” dose?

    “4 Sieverts: Usually fatal radiation poisoning. Survival occasionally possible with prompt treatment.”


    • aigeezer aigeezer

      890 million bananas, for our pro-nuke friends.

    • hbjon hbjon

      How do they unliquify your bodily tissue? Watch out for the modern day snake oil salesman. The wonderful elixir that can coagulate your blood into a fortress of protection against radioactive nuclides. Ladies and gentlemen. Get your bottle before it runs out! Covered under most insurance plans. Take three doses daily after meals, but not before bedtime or with milk. May cause kidney failure or stroke in some rare cases. Radjuice….for the serious survivalist. Don’t fall for the gimmicks my fellow enenewsers. They will surely be coming out of the woodwork soon.

  • arclight arclight

    “The most contaminated of the soil will be dug up, working from inside B-Cell, and placed in neighboring hot cells. There it will be incorporated into grout that will be used to fill the hot cells.

    The grout-filled cells then will be removed as monoliths and hauled by large transporters to the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility in central Hanford. The thick walls of the cells will provide radiation-shielding as the waste is driven to the landfill.”


  • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

    I live in Spokane.. was out this morning.. beautiful blue sky.. On my way home I noticed haze and then after further examination, planes in the sky leaving trails that occur to be a like distance apart.. ugh..

    not that I believe in super conspiracy.. but, needed to run home and check the JNN cam.. oh no.. it is down.. then read the real news.. oh no.. not good..

    and now this too?

    …I am starting to consider that when our air gets really radioactive, that instead of telling us, that our government drops nitrogen or something to try and disperse it or make it less harmful.

    ..or if Haarp is functioning on the level many here believe, perhaps they are trying to seed the clouds or control the weather somehow trying to limit fallout on larger populated areas..

    just weird to be out, looking at my sky, and just knowing today is a bad day for humanity.

    GE, it brings good things to life.. only you will not recognize what they are. (my new GE motto 🙂 please reuse often!)

  • W8R W8R

    I grew up in Spokane..
    We thought the Pacific Northwest was pristine, natural…
    Later we find out….
    The Columbia basin is horribly polluted..
    Why such a pretty place…
    What a shame…

    • Mack Mack

      Yes, it’s hard to find anywhere in the U.S. that hasn’t been polluted with some type of nuclear radiation if you research deeply enough.

      From the coastline on the west, to the coastline on the east, oceans, rivers, lakes, farmland, groundwater, valleys, mountains…

      • From sea to glowing sea, a land of abundant radiation and toxic chemicals, in all directions; land, sea, air, rivers, streams and lakes, not to mention farms, cities and homes.

        To eat an elephant, one must start with one bite.

        Getting rid of nuclear power plants is one bite out of the elephant.

        We cannot wait for the Carrington Effect to get rid of us…

  • iouto

    Ich geh kaputt.

    Kommste mit?

  • jec jec

    1000 feet from the Columbia River. Do they realize this river does FLOOD? And is used for drinking water, crops, and is a major waterway for spawning fish?

    Columbia River floods, is not static..the Hanford engineers who put this into place..are/were stooges. Any one talk to former employees who worked in there? Are they still alive..either radiation or age has got them..

    • aigeezer aigeezer

      I believe the Columbia last flooded in 1948 and it has since been heavily dammed to eliminate flood risk. Of course, Fukushima risk was considered small also, but I would bet that “the next big one” will not be from a flooded Columbia. It’s ironic that we have to worry about nuke issues near such a huge non-nuke power source though. Hanford was and is a nightmare.




      • jec jec

        Relatives worked at Hanford before it shutdown..retired from work there..and died from heart attacks. No one in our family before or after even has high BP..and both husband and wife died of heart issues in a short time of each other.

      • Anthony Anthony

        It (Columbia) was on hardcore flood alert through early late spring this year too I recall. I remember posting some scary articles I found even at yahoo here about it. Paradoxically, these incidences of what amount to exposure for many of us to varying degrees of radiation lays perhaps the foundation of * its not so bad for you and won’t kill you – See we are all still alive and we’ve had MEGA exposure as a generation. *

        Its a slippery slope we’re on in life right now. Its not the life I dream of, or wanted or paid for.

      • Jebus Jebus

        I live right next to this river downstream, In 1996 I lived in St.Helens right on the river. It flooded like no other year since before the dams. I grew up here and have swam in it hundreds of times. My dad used to say that river is radioactive from hanford. I scoffed at his remarks when I was a teenager.

        I apologize Dad…

        • aigeezer aigeezer

          Thanks, Jebus. So the Columbia still floods despite the dams? I had not heard of that and couldn’t find any documentation of it. Please consider adding your information to the Wiki entry about the river so that people know flooding wasn’t just “in the olden days” (which is the impression I had).

  • James2

    89 sieverts per hour means there is something really hot laying on the ground. That’s not just a few flakes of hotness.

    That will cause you health issues in 4 seconds… kill you in between 45 seconds and 2 1/2 minutes.

  • notactive

    Keep smiling and be happy!!!

  • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

    Total BS in our article again: “radioactive cesium and strontium…blah de blah blah”
    It’s NEVER just, from a reactor or fallout or material misshandling accident ONLY cesium and strontium. What Hanford is most known for and this “hot spot” (yawn) is surely no exception, is PLUTONIUM!!! Is that 86 SIEVERTS an HOUR a miss-print? I hope so. Jeesh.

  • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

    Oh yeah, if it’s 1000 feet from the Columbia river and has been for even a few winter wet and spring melt seasons, it’s IN the Columbia River. Our government of utter morons.

    • I would venture it’s safe to say our government agency’s and heads knew of this happening for years !

      Not a dought in my mind !

      : |

  • Ruffcut

    Not totally sure of the source of the story. Worded strange.
    But beware that the search for the truth has become an interesting business.
    I’ve read alot of considered “moonbat” stuff and the net is getting cluttered with misdirection.
    This whole fukushit is a programmed madness. How could anyone be other than” programmed” to be a pronuke, or puke???? Or parabolic denial.
    I hope the 111 million enjoyed the superbowl. Yippee…..

  • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

    No wonder a very sharp German academic friend has grown depressed after moving to Richland, WA, upon graduation from Yale. The layers of disappointment there are nearly incalculable for biological organisms.

    • Jaskal

      HA..This is a surprise, as experience tells me that there are few places as depressing as New Haven CT.

      A number like this (probably FALSE) is released to desensitize us to numbers like this and their effects.

      • Three Mile Island: Then, Now and Next Time
        (Spring 1996)
        Deformed Deer and Daisies …
        deformed dandelions …
        his son went out to the barn and found a stillborn, double headed calf …

        • James2

          I had not read that article yet.

          It says “next time we will know what to do”. Well it’s next time, and guess what – same thing is happening.

          I had no idea the extent to which the government covered up TMI – not sure if I would have believed it until now.

          Now I’m sure it’s all true – flat out lies about radiaiton levels, mysterious deaths, mysterious payments, crooked judges

          The people need to take control of this situation – the government isn’t going to do it.

        • LetThemEatYellowCake LetThemEatYellowCake

          “From my notes of August 12, 1993: The Hoovers are Mennonites; the church asked them to stop talking.”

          Nothing has changed.

  • StillJill StillJill

    Who is testing the Columbia River water?
    Crap,…we can’t send any of our guys out,…with geigers,…this is a whole new can of shit!

  • Here is hoping the government bottles it and sells or gives it away free to ALL of the Moon Bats that are saying more radiation is good for you..

    Let them drink that 87 Sieverts per hour stuff… and then PROVE that they are getting healthier..

    Of course, I would have them drink it all down by the quart it in a special place, with a lead lined grave right in front of them so they can fall into it, when their theory does not quite work out the way they planned it for all of the DU weapons dust exposed, atomic bomb survivors, Fukushima and Chernobyl radiation exposed folks out there.

  • hbjon hbjon

    This may sound alarming and it is if it is true. It sounds like a job for superman, batman, and thing 1 and thing 2. Damn you or-well I can’t get Dr. Seuss out of my head.

    • or-well

      hbjon: try the “Tepco:Water injection”
      thread. There’s a Bugs Bunny theme instead of Dr. Seuss.
      Kids are often on my mind these days….

  • TheMysticWizard1

    I thought 2 things when I read this…

    1. That number must be wrong. 89 sieverts? No way this can be cleaned up for thousands of years.


    2. If they intend on cleaning this up, and are actually serious about that intention, then they should have no trouble cleaning up the mess in Fukushima right now.

    Sadly I think the first must be true and we’re all screwed. (the screwed part has pretty much been a constant in my thoughts.)

  • americancommntr

    Ahhhh! It’s a financial easter egg, a cherishable treasure. They can nurse maid it for hundreds of years, and feed at the trough filled by taxpayers. It’s a contractors’ dream. It’s so bad, it will be extremely costly to fix.

    Or shucks, they could use Brown’s Gas flame on it and eliminate the radioactivity. Then just scoop up the stuff and take it to the appropriate toxic/hazardous waste landfill. Wouldn’t want to put in in a radioactive landfill, that would make the treated material worse, after BG treatment.

  • howardtlewisiii

    i have worked in the potato fields of idaho and dental assisted and became ASE certified to do it. I never experienced industrial strength stupid before I worked on a nuke back in 1975. Those people were oblivious and could not care less. Their focus was beer and television and the ugliest and dumbest children around.

  • howardtlewisiii

    “ASE certified” as an auto mechanic after dodging the hepatitis, herpes, and AIDS epidemics.

  • StillJill StillJill

    “industrial strength stupid”–I’m lovin’ it Howard!

    My ex was a control’s operator, had two children before me. Come to think of it,…they did have six toes on each foot,…does that count? (Kidding), sorta.

  • arclight arclight

    was i two minds where to put this!

    found 2 american continent radiation monitoring sites on eurdep!

    found evidence of regular american emmissions hitting the azores

    found evidence of collusion of all the western coastal states of covering up these and their own releases de nuclear!!

    found evidence that stienfort seems to be getting very active!!

    found evidence of possibly other reactor issues (turn offs etc!!)

    now im off to bed!!

    part 1

    part 2

    • ruth

      Good find! The radiation turnoff’s are the proof that radiation hitting the Western European coastlines is being controlled from the US. His hypothesis that the US is regularly releasing radiation from their plants is chilling.

      • arclight arclight

        eurdep is now switched of.. properly.. download videos now if you want to save them… copyright infringement warningabout to hit the you tubes!! maybe??

        • arclight arclight

          any giegers around any of the susspect reactors

          most of the usa
          la hague
          norway (yes you have!)
          dodgy swedish and finnish reactors??
          ireland (because of complicity. remember the rendition flights to shannon? )
          most of russia
          fallujah (in the babies)
          belly dance international!! ?
          the uk

        • arclight arclight

          might point out that my email got locked today!! 🙂 ? eurdep has been taken off line and my skype is playing up??

          my superfast broadband is being a bit weird..

          dont know if it was because i tried to get a document to busby? didnt succeed… yet!

          the eurdep thing is seperate… maybe?

          time for a tea!! 🙁

  • Jebus Jebus

    Here’s an article of Annette Cary’s from the Tri Cities Herald from 11/5/2010

    Read the whole article, it is very eye opening.
    You cant stop the critters from getting dosed!

    Radioactive rabbit trapped near Richland
    By Annette Cary, Herald staff writer

    A radioactive rabbit caught at Hanford just north of Richland had Washington State Department of Health workers looking for contaminated droppings Thursday.

    Contaminated animals occasionally are found at the nuclear reservation, but more often they are in the center of Hanford, far from town….


  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    The Hanford Story (part 2): Groundwater
    multi-chapter doc on youtube, I didn’t watch it yet, maybe it’s of interest for some of you.

    • ruth

      It is a PR piece mean to sooth the viewer that the government is on top of the ground water with radiation. If you believe their numbers a lot of groundwater has been treated and by 2015 they will be in control of the leaking. They state several times that the Columbia has been receiving this leaking radiation but the famous words that is is at levels safe for humans. BS

  • kidputer

    With nuclear power only providing 15% of our power I say it is time to turn them all off and move the spent fuel to Yucca Mountain.
    It is clear to me this is not a safe technology.
    It seems safe on the surface but with no permanent storage and no way to protect from EMP or large quakes, we need to shut them all down and reevaluate this industry.
    If we look at Fukashima and what happened there, we have to ask ourselves, is this the risk we want to take for 15% of our power?
    Most people are unaware there are 65,000 tons of nuclear waste stored unsafely above ground in temporary storage for the last 30 years at our nuclear power plants and only a billionth of this amount is needed to kill everyone on earth.
    Only an ignorant person would be willing to take this risk!
    The nuclear power industry always was and always will be just cover scent for the nuclear bomb industry scam.

  • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

    HEDR Release Estimate — For certain radionuclides, HEDR estimated how much was released into the atmosphere or into the Columbia River. The release estimate is also known as the source term. The estimates are in a measuring unit called a curie. Curie is the unit used in measuring radioactivity. It is equal to the quantity of any radioactive material in which the number of atoms that decay each second is 37 billion. The release estimates have been rounded from the values listed in the referenced reports.

    • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

      Table 1
      Radionuclides Released to the Air (1944-1972)
      Radionuclide Physical Half-Life
      in seconds (s), minutes (m),
      hours (h), days (d) or years (y) HEDR Release Estimate
      (in curies)
      (where provided by HEDR)
      iodine-131 8.0 d 739,000
      ruthenium-103 39.3 d 1,200
      ruthenium-106 368.2 d 390
      cobalt-60 5.3 y 1
      zirconium-95 64.0 d 1,200
      iodine-132 2.3 h 3,820
      cerium-144 284.3 d 3,770
      cesium-137 30.0 y 42
      strontium-90 29.1 y 64
      yttrium-91 58.5 d –
      strontium-89 50.5 d 700
      barium-140 12.7 d –
      niobium-95 35.2 d –
      tellurium-129m 33.6 d –
      cerium-141 32.5 d –
      plutonium-239 24,065 y 2
      xenon-133 5.3 d 418,000
      praseodymium-143 13.6 d –
      lanthanum-140 40.3 h –
      cesium-134 2.1 y –
      neodymium-147 11 d –
      plutonium-240 6,540 y –
      iodine-129 15,700,000 y 46
      plutonium-241 14.4 y –
      antimony-125 2.8 y –
      tellurium-132 78.2 h –
      cesium-136 13.1 d –
      promethium-148m 41.3 d –
      plutonium-238 87.7 y –
      promethium-147 2.6 y –
      europium-154 8.8 y –
      xenon-131 11.9 d –
      silver-111 7.5 d –
      tin-125 9.6 d –
      cadmium-115m 44.6 d –
      iron-59 44.5 d –
      yttrium-90 64.0 h –
      tellurium-125m 58 d –
      europium-155 5 y –
      niobium-95m 88.6 h –
      neptunium-239 2.4 d –
      promethium-148 5.4 d –
      silver-110m 249.9 d –
      krypton-85 10.7 y 18,500,000
      uranium-238 4,470,000,000 y –
      americium-241 432.3 y –
      molybdenum-99 66.0 h –
      neptunium-237 2,140,000 y –
      rubidium-86 18.7 d –
      antimony-124 60.2 d –
      cobalt-58 70.8 d –
      curium-242 162.8 d –
      manganese-54 312.5 d –
      praseodymium-144 17.3 m –
      xenon-133m 2.2 d –
      tin-126 10,000 y –
      iron-55 2.7 y –
      tin-119m 293 d –
      uranium-235 703,800,000 y –
      technetium-99 213,000 y –
      europium-152 13.3 y –
      samarium-151 90 y –
      rhodium-106 29.9 s –
      uranium-236 23,400,00 y –
      rhodium-103m 56.1 m –
      silver 108m 127 y –
      barium-137m 2.6 m –
      tellurium-129 69.6 m –
      promethium-149 53.1 h –
      technetium-99m 6.0 h –
      thorium-234 24.1 d –
      plutonium-236 2.9 y –
      iodine-133 20.8 h -…

      • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

        Radionuclides Estimated To Have Been Released to Columbia River6

        Table 2 lists 71 radionuclides released to the Columbia River from the operation of Hanford’s plutonium production reactors, from 1944 through 1971. The order of this list is the same as in the Battelle-PNL reference document. It lists the radionuclides by their mass number. The mass number is the number of neutrons and protons in the nucleus of an atom. The release estimates come from more recent HEDR reports (see References list).
        Table 2
        Radionuclides Released to the Columbia River (1944-1971)
        Radionuclide Physical Half-Life
        in seconds (s), minutes (m),
        hours (h), days (d) or years (y) HEDR Release Estimate7
        (in curies)
        (where provided by HEDR)
        tritium (H-3) 12.3 y –
        sodium-24 15 h 13,000,000
        silicon-31 2.6 h –
        phosphorus-32 14.3 d 230,000
        calcium-45 165 d –
        scandium-46 83.8 d 120,000
        chromium-51 27.7 d 7,200,000
        manganese-54 312.5 d –
        manganese-56 2.6 h 80,000,000
        iron-59 44.5 d –
        cobalt-60 5.3 y –
        copper-64 12.7 h –
        nickel-65 2.5 h –
        zinc-65 243.9 d 500,000
        zinc-69m 13.8 h –
        gallium-72 3.3 d 3,700,000
        arsenic-76 26.3 h 2,500,000
        strontium-87m 2.8 h –
        strontium-89 50.5 d –
        strontium-90 29.1 y –
        yttrium-90 64 h 450,000
        strontium-91 9.5 h –
        yttrium-91 58.5 d –
        strontium-92 2.7 h –
        yttrium-92 3.5 h –
        yttrium-93 10.1 h –
        zirconium-95 64 d –
        niobium-95 35.2 d –
        molybdenum-99 66 h –
        technetium-99 213,000 y –
        ruthenium-103 39.3 d –
        ruthenium-106 368.2 d –
        antimony-122 2.7 d –
        antimony-124 60.2 d –
        iodine-131 8.0 d 48,000
        iodine-132 2.3 h –
        iodine-133 20.8 h –
        iodine-134 52.6 m –
        iodine-135 6.6 h –
        cesium-136 13.1 d –
        cesium-137 30 y –
        cesium-138 32.2 m –
        barium-139 82.7 m –
        barium-140 12.7 d –
        lanthanum-140 40.3 h –
        cerium-141 32.5 d –
        cerium-143 33 h –
        cerium-144 284.3 d –
        praseodymium-142 19.1 h –
        praseodymium-143 13.6 d –
        praseodymium-147 13.4 m –
        promethium-147 2.6 y -…

  • James2

    People need to make sure they start telling their elected representatives that they will not vote for a candidate unless they denounce nuclear power.

    It’s time to start making it an election issue – now.