Businessweek: U.S. plutonium facility “might blow up, or, as they like to call it, experience a ‘criticality event'” — “450 billion gallons of industrial and radiological contaminants dumped directly into soil” — Threatens water supplies for millions across Pacific Northwest #Hanford

Published: August 2nd, 2013 at 12:38 pm ET


Title: The Plutonium Gang: CH2M Hill Dismantles the Hanford Nuclear Site
Source: Businessweek
Author: Steve Featherstone
Date: August 1, 2013

Before entering the shuttered Plutonium Finishing Plant at the Hanford Site, Jerry Long hangs his identification badge on a board outside the entrance, so rescue crews can easily figure out who’s inside, should it come to that. “This is a no-kidding hazardous category 2 nuclear facility,” says Long […] The U.S. Department of Energy reserves that category for sites that might blow up, or, as they like to call it, experience a “criticality event.” […]

[There’s] enough residual plutonium to build 10 bombs the size of the one that destroyed Nagasaki.

[…] the plant is highly contaminated with not only plutonium but also byproducts such as hexavalent chromium, made infamous by Erin Brockovich. The Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that over the years some 450 billion gallons of industrial and radiological contaminants were dumped directly into the soil. Some of it was stored, and Hanford’s aging complex of 177 underground tanks contain 53 million gallons of chemicals and radioactive liquids; 67 of the tanks have together leaked more than a million gallons. The DOE recently identified six more tanks that have sprung leaks, further threatening water supplies for millions across the Northwest. […]

See also: [intlink id=”tv-i-know-that-this-sounds-incredible-but-theres-40-miles-of-unlined-trenches-at-hanford-for-dumping-radioactive-waste-video” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: August 2nd, 2013 at 12:38 pm ET


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44 comments to Businessweek: U.S. plutonium facility “might blow up, or, as they like to call it, experience a ‘criticality event'” — “450 billion gallons of industrial and radiological contaminants dumped directly into soil” — Threatens water supplies for millions across Pacific Northwest #Hanford

  • Mats

    That´s a thing that wonders me:

    It is well known how unsafe Hanford was and is, so why getting afraid bout Fukushima if Hanford is much nearer?

    Because it´s not hot? Bequerel is bequerel.



  • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

    the pacific northwest is so beautiful. Ruined forever because there was money to made building super bombs and other death machinery. Illness and death, thats the future. But you cant grab the boney, balding little heads of the perpetrators, point them that direction and make them see it. Its the throws of death I dont like.

  • ProfitOfDoom ProfitOfDoom

    Don't they grow apples around there somewhere ? … Great for Halloween ! … $$POD$$

  • getoutwhileyoustillcan

    "The U.S. Department of Energy reserves that category for sites that might blow up"

    It's kinda disturbing that they needed to make a category for this. So how many more sites are in this category?

  • Obama fans, Obama critics:

    this goes beyond politics, ethnicity, gender, and all the hot issues capturing the attention of politicians and the public.

    People should be mobilizing all over the country because there are critical environmental problems everywhere. I sit across the border from Washington State, but if Hanford were in Canada, I bet we would be just as passive as our neighbors in the US. The Tar Sands and the fracking business are thriving over here, after all.

    I suggest bringing up the importance of Hanford, the Gulf, the Louisiana sinkhole, and every other serious local environmental issue on every main political forum on the internet.

    It will take time and repeated efforts but people must realize that although governments and industry have the power – we have the numbers and numbers still count for something.

    The US is sending billions of dollars abroad, some of it in misguided aid projects, when there are critical environmental and infrastructural problems at home.

    By raising awareness among the people maybe we can indirectly make politicians reset their own priorities. It's not that Congress does not know about Hanford. They just haven't felt the right amount of pressure to refocus their attention.



    There's no where to run, no where to hide. Just like a bad dream, no matter how fast you run it's going to catch you.

  • They still haven't found a safe place for Nuclear Waste?
    Banker's vaults spring to mind..

  • kintaman kintaman

    Where is this Hanford site in the US? East, West, etc?

  • Flapdoodle Flapdoodle

    I wish Arnie would weigh in on this.

  • weeman

    The watershed is already contaminated to a degree and is only going to get more contaminated as time passes, you will never be able to completely clean that site, a complete disregard of health and safety knowingly.

  • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

    My father died from Leukemia in 2008 down wind/river from this mess. I think about all the salmon and Sturgeon my father (and out family) smoked/BBQ'd and ate from the Columbia River. I have a severe autoimmune disease that is "rare" and the doctors don't understand. Maybe I should give them a list of the Hanford inventory, and see if any of the items leaching into the river/groundwater might cause what I have?! I have to laugh, because they have been talking about Hanford for years in Washington, and how they were going to go about cleaning it up. Blah.. Blah.. Blah…same old story. I agree with 53North…sounds like the perfect place…or maybe they could container it over to the Rothchild Estate?

  • Lion76 Lion76

    It is disgusting how this industry (and others like it) have ruined the true "natural resources" of this great planet.

    • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

      Agreed…..I guess the greedy jerks don't realize they have no where else to live. Talk about a bunch or short sighted idiots.

      • Ourself Ourself

        Ofcourse they're short-sighted; this is the nature of fools. Tyrants are simply arrogant fools.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Such total failure not being able to encapsulate nuclear waste. And pure evil that man developed it. Radiation fallout is now literally everywhere, thanks to nuclear.

  • Proton

    “450 billion gallons of industrial and radiological contaminants dumped directly into soil” b-b-b-b-billion? with a b-b-b-b-bee?

  • Proton

    How are these fools going to pay for all the cancer deaths they have caused?

  • skizexq skizexq

    WOW, only 450 billion gallons pumped directly into the soil. No biggie, there. Sheesh.

  • Seems like nobody gets charged criminally for the fallout of these poisons or any other poison. Three years Embridge still cleaning up Kalamazoo river, Michigan another example no criminal charges are ever laid for pollution. Possibly a monetary fine which is mute as taxpayers end up cleaning up nuclear waste. Best you can do is move away if your close to any type of this nuclear pollution. Bringing accountability to these industries seems possible but distant.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    If this facility goes kaboom all on its own, then I am afraid its lights out for most of the US.

    The jet stream sweeps right over this area on a continual basis and the mixing factor of all this Hanford Radioactive Fallout combined with Fukushima's Contamination will be horrendous.

    Our past intellectual leaders made these "Nuclear Beds" all over the world a long time ago knowing they would never have to sleep in any of them.

    Lets hope this report is wrong, and if not, I think those in the PNW should think about getting together a detailed plan on moving very soon.

    Of course you could always trust your government to do the right thing, but then I think we have already done that.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Washington and Oregon were some of the nicest states, ever …and Hanford is now trashing them.

  • Sol Man

    We can hope that nobody is insane enough to want a diversionary false flag here. It would probably be the end of everything.

    • mairs mairs

      I never underestimate what politicians will decide to do. As one said five years ago…. a war with Iran would be devastating, but it would be "worth it". Worth it for whom? So there are people with power who have no compunction against causing devastation for their personal aims.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Sol Man,
    Most of the events over the past the ten years have been like you stated but then I do not think we Americans are making any friends around the world and our antics might have pissed off the wrong people.

    This is a big world now with lots of Nuclear Material free flowing all over the place and I think we all know its just a matter of time until the wrong pissed off wacko gets their hands on this nuclear material.

    Gee, they can walk right into Fukushima and probably pick up Mox Fuel right off the ground.

    So any diversionary false flag here, might not be a diversion at all, but instead the real thing.

    Our military motto that "we must wage war in order to have peace" is growing very thin these days and other nation's technologies are catching up rapidly to our own.

    Of course the fact that we do not manufacture anything in the US anymore is not helping matters.

    These are very dangerous times for the world at large…and the guy with the biggest stick may not be the last one standing.

    • Sol Man

      The guy with the biggest stick, the most castles, the most trillions- in gold, jewels, art, the most plentiful fiats may be the last man standing, but not for long, before all of the radionuclides have their way, as they will with an ever greater percentage of the population. Unfortunately, not everybody has had the thought of a sane world to leave to their progeny- quite the opposite.

    • mairs mairs

      Heck, they can probably go to a town several kilometers away and pick up fuel off the ground.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Sol man if our brainiacks can make a computer virus that disables Nuclear Power Plants, what makes us think that someone else can't make a computer virus that will make Nuclear Power Plants explode?

    Last count we have 100+ of these Nuclear Reactors plastered all over the US near highly populated areas with a very healthy robust Jet Stream Flow.

    This could be our nation's worst nightmare, before all is said and done, and them there windmills and solar panels are looking pretty good about now, don't ya think?

    Never say never… time to shut all these bad boys down and the sooner the better.

    • Times about run out on that… Prepared.?

      • Kassandra

        I see no way of preparing for full scale nuclear plant meltdowns PattieB.

        Where to hide if you are just a regular person who doesn't have access to a deep hole in an Eaarth much scarier than envisioned by Bill McKibben?

        How could one store enough food for years of highly contaminated yields even if one had a cave to hide in?

        I believe there are massive, well-stocked hideaways the world's elite will retreat into if surface conditions become intolerable.

        I don't know what criteria are used to define intolerable.

        Unlike elites, the rest of us will get to live out the ongoing environmental apocalypse in living color.

        There is really little one can do to prepare for long-term mass contamination.

  • irhologram

    Where is the list? "This is a no-kidding hazardous category 2 nuclear facility,” says Long […] The U.S. Department of Energy reserves that category for sites that might blow up, or, as they like to call it, experience a “criticality event.” […]

    Is there an overview of where all these sites are? Where is the list?

  • NoPrevarication NoPrevarication

    Gee! This is really interesting!! It seems all the comments made this morning on this article relating to Obamacare, teaching hospitals, and what it means for the aged have been deleted by someone. Anyone care to guess who deleted them? They would have been more appropriate on the off-topic discussion thread, but were not moved there. Admin, did you do it?? I should have copied to my hard drive, now they are gone. Fess up, whoever you are.