AP: Radiation-contaminated groundwater feared moving toward 4th largest river in US — Over 200 miles inland — Posing danger to fish, people

Published: December 12th, 2011 at 12:17 pm ET


New concerns about Hanford nuclear waste plant, AP, Dec. 12, 2011:

CAPTION: The H reactor is one of nine nuclear reactors at Hanford, where it is feared that contaminated groundwater is moving steadily toward the Columbia River and posing a danger to fish and the people who eat them

[…] But the worst of the waste is still decades away from being completely removed. Millions of gallons of a highly radioactive stew — enough to fill dozens of Olympic-size swimming pools — are stored in aging underground tanks. Some of those tanks have leaked, threatening the groundwater and the river. […]

[T]wo Hanford workers filed suit as whistleblowers, claiming they were targeted for reprisals after raising safety concerns. The largest of the safety complaints deal with specifications for the process by which the waste would be mixed. The whistleblowers say, as specified, it could result in dangerous gas concentrations as well as a settling of waste within the mixing vessels.

Those issues largely center on a pretreatment building where the worst waste will be funneled […] Any problems there would be significant because workers will not be able to enter certain areas once operations commence because of high levels of radioactivity. […]

The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America [and] fourth-largest river in the U.S., and it has the greatest flow of any North American river draining into the Pacific –Wikipedia

Published: December 12th, 2011 at 12:17 pm ET


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21 comments to AP: Radiation-contaminated groundwater feared moving toward 4th largest river in US — Over 200 miles inland — Posing danger to fish, people

    • Mack Mack

      This story reminds me of the Savannah River Site in South Carolina where there are reportedly 36 carbon steels tanks the size of basketball courts in the ground, containing highly-radioactive waste that’s still waiting to be cleaned up.

      This same site also contaminated the Savannah River with Tritium. The river flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Well, the latest headlines here today just make me want to stick my head in the sand, or up my butt.

    You remember the recent interview with the South Carolina professor who studies mutations in Chernobyl wildlife? Pigment-loss in bird-feathers? Yesterday I noticed a Mourning Dove in my yard with white tail-feathers. I’ve never seen that before, and I’ve seen a lot of Doves. In many parts of the US. The bird seemed otherwise healthy and hungry, if slightly more aggressive than the rest of its flock.

    Just an observation, could be many explanations, but I wonder- is it too soon for such a mutation to appear here? I took pictures. Anyone else ever seen this before in their local MD population?

    I’m in the mountains, western NC.

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      Yes, I have seen unusual coloring, etc in wildlife but I live close to TMI thus we have already been dosed, so to speak, of course we were never told until after the fact but I remember Arnie Gundersen and of course Jimmy Carter. That was so many moons ago but I will never forget all the people fleeing the area and wanting to join them. I digress, yes I have noticed changes not only in wildlife but also vegetation and I do think it is due to Cesium from Fuku .

  • Flapdoodle Flapdoodle

    Oct 4, 2009 – Portland’s combined sewers have overflowed because of rain. … Portland’s sewage will be traveling directly into the Columbia River. [This has been going on for decades]
    If the major cities sewage is anything like Japan’s, we can expect high radiation from the sewage as well as hot particles from rain runoff. It looks like fish from any source may be at risk.

  • Grampybone Grampybone

    Even the storage of radioactive waste can ruin wildlife and mutate the local gene pool. If the Colombia River gets contaminated millions of lives will suffer. These whistle blowers are heroes of their communities and I hope their case is taken. There has to be a massive mobilization of funds to make sure these waste containers are repaired to prevent a massive release.

    • Be Still My Beating Heart

      “If the Colombia River gets contaminated millions of lives will suffer” – Grampybone
      TOO LATE!
      The Columbia River was the most radioactive river in the world in the 60’s. At least that is what they told us that lived south of Portland. Never go swimming in the river or eat Any of it’s fish!
      And that was 50 years ago!
      Other rivers started becoming more toxic than it, back then, (beginning in Russia,) and it lost its’ number 1 status.
      The site no longer releases toxins in the air but the groundwater contamination has been on-going for decades. Nothing new, the barrels are just getting older.
      Can you beleive that the Columbia Gorge is still the Wind Surfing Capital of the world?
      Go figure…

    • midwestern midwestern


      This might help provide information about potential massive releases and current planning and lack of planning involved with the waste treatment/storage at Hanford. I am reposting from Discussion Thread, but it seems it may be more helpful here.

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    On the NRC. I wonder how much they KNOW and WHEN they knew it.
    As we’ve seen, more and more comes out that proves they’ve been spinning us all along. Decades of spin and lies. I imagine they are coming apart at the seams. Can you imagine what it’s like at the NRC right now?! Maybe we’ll be seeing more and more whistle blowers coming out to Spill The Beans. Got to hope so.

    • PayAttention

      Lucas has a good article today on the Nuclear Energy Institute and the money they spent lobbying after Fukushima.

      Quote from the article:

      “After reviewing thousands of FOIA requests pertaining the to the Fukushima disaster after their release, it is also clear to see the role that the NEI played not only in writing and distributing pro-nuclear propaganda in the main stream media, they also had a hand in monitoring the radiation from Japan, as it hit the United States.


      Lucas also has all of those FOIA emails from the NRC on his site, which are really telling.

  • WorseThanChernobyl

    I live near the Columbia River and only 8 miles from Hanford. The river has been contaminated for a very long time. I think this article is very odd because it is trying to say that there is not yet contamination in the river, when all the research I have done shows that the river is very contaminated and has been for some time. Anyway, I won’t let my kids play in the river. All the other parents around here do, and it makes me cringe. I suppose the other parents think I am being silly, but I would rather not take my chances with something like that. We need to move. I don’t like being so close to Hanford and a nuke plant. If only I could figure out where to go.

    • jimbojamesiv

      In all the time I lived on Manhattan’s Upper West side, I met one man who swam in the Hudson River, and I’d never even considered it, thinking it a toxic sludge soup, which I’m pretty sure was the general consensus, but he bragged and boasted that he loved it, dogs swim in it, and people fish in (presumably eating) it too, so who’s correct and who’s wrong? I have no idea.

      • Flapdoodle Flapdoodle

        Was his name Kramer?

      • WorseThanChernobyl

        Well, the toxicity of it has been documented scientifically, so I think the people who say it is contaminated would be correct. Whether or not to swim in it though, is a matter of personal preference I suppose. lol

        • Elenin Velikovsky Elenin Velikovsky

          Heya, Kramer is King Kool…..
          There was a real fun documentary called “Gotham Fish Tales”
          about folks who fish, eat, and even SELL to seafood restaurants,
          right out of the surrounding waterways of NYC. I recommend the Doc!
          Billions of hungry people eat whatever they can catch, out of total
          sewage waters, around the world.
          I was Hitchin’ Wash State summer of ’81 because the
          Rainbow Gathering
          was up near Colville that summer.
          I went down highway 2 to Seattle then,
          and saw huge conical piles of Wheat on the side of the road.
          The roadway was littered with a coating of wheat berries.
          I picked up some, toasted on asphalt ovens of the roadway.
          tasted pretty good. I knew little of Hanford then.
          I wondered if this was a valid, food-production tactic,
          to let tons and tons of wheat to sit out like that?
          Was it known to be Contaminated? Unsaleable? I don’t know.
          I’m Standing on The Promises of God, my Saviour.

  • jimbojamesiv

    Well, that’s good news.

  • dpl dpl

    they pick some of the nicest places to take a nuclear dump.

  • truthseek truthseek

    The entire planet seems to be running amuck?
    Appears we’re bathing in a sea of radiation.
    Must be a standing joke in the industry.
    They KNOW its a dirty dirty business.