Emergency plan activated after ‘massive’ crack found in dam near nuclear site — Official: ‘Serious problem’; Failure risk ‘sufficiently high’ — NOAA: “Potential for rapid increase in flows” — Gov’t: Flooding could release radioactive waste from Hanford (VIDEO)

Published: March 2nd, 2014 at 4:35 am ET


Seattle Times, Feb. 28, 2014 (emphasis added): ‘Serious problem’: 65-foot crack found in Columbia River dam — A massive crack in a major Columbia River dam poses enough of a risk of dam failure that Grant County authorities have activated an emergency-response plan. […] “At this point we already know there’s a serious problem,” said Thomas Stredwick, spokesman for the Grant County Public Utility District (PUD). “We want to make sure the spillway is stable enough that inspectors are safe when inspecting it. […] This is a situation that’s really changing as more information becomes available” […]

Seattle Times, Feb. 28, 2014: There’s no immediate threat to public safety from the crack in the Wanapum Dam […] Stredwick said […] officials analyzed the divers’ data and decided Friday that the failure risk was sufficiently high that they should notify other government agencies […]

Columbia Basin Herald, Mar. 1, 2014: [T]his large of a crack has never been found on a Grant PUD dam. […] engineers noticed something unusual on the water level […] the crack, which spans the entire length of the dam, had formed about 70 feet under water.

Oregon Public Radio: Worst-case scenario is if the spillway was to topple. But Stredwick thinks other sections of the dam would hold on and downstream communities should be safe.

NBC News, Mar. 1, 2014: [NOAA’s] National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for Grant County through the weekend as the water is drawn down because “the potential exists for a rapid increase in flows from Wanapum Dam.”

Eugene Weekly, Nov. 27, 2013: Dam failure was also examined, [David Swank, assistant VP at Columbia Generating Station] says, using flood maps provided by the Army Corps of Engineers […] “Flood level would not get to the plant,” Swank says, providing nothing has changed in the 30 years since the mapping was done. […] “It’s always tough to say with certainly that a facility is 100 percent prepared for an unknown disaster,” says Geoff Tyree of the Department of Energy. He says the DOE has looked at the possibility of the worst-case scenario where the Grand Coulee Dam partially fails on the Columbia River. He says that flooding could result in the release of radioactive material from portions of Hanford into the water, but he says that same water would dilute the radiation to a very low level off site […]

COLUMBIA GENERATING STATION FINAL SAFETY ANALYSIS REPORT (pdf), Dec. 2011: Grand Coulee Dam is ~250 river miles upstream from the CGS nuclear reactor, while the Wanapum Dam is ~60 river miles from the reactor and ~30 river miles from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Watch the Reuters interview with Stredwick here

Published: March 2nd, 2014 at 4:35 am ET


Related Posts

  1. NPR: Operators struggle with major crack in dam; Spillway could topple — AP: “Extends all 65 ft across monolith”; About 20 miles from Hanford nuclear site — TV: “Pretty crazy… one of biggest dams in state, going to be a catastrophe if something happens” (VIDEO) March 4, 2014
  2. NPR: Rapidly unfolding situation at cracked dam has engineers scrambling — Experts troubled over ‘slip’ in structure — Official “didn’t answer question” about dam near Hanford nuclear site — Major employer in area obviously worried — “Spring snow melt will swell river” — NBC: “Crack in Dam Repairs Itself” March 7, 2014
  3. TV: Is cracked dam a ticking time bomb? “Next 24-48 Hours Critical” — “Preparing for worst-case scenario” — No ‘immediate’ threat — Feds monitor structure, ‘sudden release’ possible — “Very few have faced this” — NPR: New photo shows ‘pronounced curve’ — Docks near Hanford nuke site closed (VIDEO & PHOTO) March 5, 2014
  4. “WIPP release story doesn’t add up… accident is unbelievable” — New tests show “high level” release underground — “Contains things far more radioactive than High Level Waste” — “I want to hear what really happened down there” (VIDEO) March 6, 2014
  5. 30 foot long crack found in containment building at Ohio nuclear plant — Reactor was being replaced after cracks found on fuel rod nozzles (VIDEO) October 13, 2011

198 comments to Emergency plan activated after ‘massive’ crack found in dam near nuclear site — Official: ‘Serious problem’; Failure risk ‘sufficiently high’ — NOAA: “Potential for rapid increase in flows” — Gov’t: Flooding could release radioactive waste from Hanford (VIDEO)

  • Nformed

    Sorry after checking 2nd link was bad…

    Here we go…

    • Oh yeah, right–if the worst happens the river will dilute the rad poison.

      Compare that idea to the horrible medical mystery about malformed fetuses in WA, in the Hanford plant area. See the graph on that article.

      • Bones Bones

        Don't worry there is, "No immediate threat to public safety!" The dam will fail, from lack of government doing anything useful and constructive without trying to skim as much money for themselves and their private cronies, and we will "solve" the problem of Hanford…Whoops!; We will also see how the safety systems prevented an ever worse catastrophe at the nuclear plant and everyone is safe. Everyone who was affected in the small ten mile radius has been moved into poisonous gas emitting FEMA trailers and no one will die besides those dead in the flood. Your government thanks you for your patience and cooperation in these times which NO ONE could have ever predicted. Public Messaging Service over, citizen.

        • GQR2

          You know bones,they activated their emergency response to notify other agencies, when exactly are they going to ring the bell. Sound the alarm. Give people a heads up at the minimum. that is a big population i'll bet there are many who are unawared of this disaster which could and probably is unfolding rapidly. These days one cannot wait for the government. They don't care. do not care. all they want is money and profit,its sickening.

          • Bones Bones

            Exactly GQR2, how I think anymore. If I lived downstream, I would move immediately to someone's home either a family member or friend who lives outside the area. Your life and families life is too important. Hanford is there anyway so these people should have left a generation ago. Time to call a spade a spade. These once pristine areas of our once great country are now no-go zones for habitation like the place near Hanford with all the children there that have horrible birth defects. Trust your gut and LEAVE.

            • Nformed

              Approximately 3.9 ML (1.0 Mgal) of waste has leaked or spilled into the nearby soil. Over the years, much of the liquid stored in single-shell tanks has been evaporated or pumped to double-shell tanks as part of DOE's Interim Tank Stabilization Program to prevent further leakage.

              This is from 2002. Makes a person wonder what the stats are today. "The real stats"

          • Bones Bones

            We know for a fact that the government knows the amount and types of radionuclides released as well as where and when it goes where what parts of the plume go. Over 2,000 bomb tests will give you the knowledge of where nuclear contamination goes and it's effects on populations. Knowing the government knows and monitors at all times the radiological levels throughout the nation, especially at sites such as these, then we know they are purposefully lying to us. Drones can detect radionuclides and their levels from the sky and we see every single time North Korea blows up a nuke underground! Why should we believe their ignorance now!?!? So much double speak in the articles from the MSM it is sickening. We cannot believe the government. Basically, the first sign there is a radiological release, check air patterns, and plan ahead. The release already happened and is happening. We just hear the "facts" after everything has happened.

            • Nformed

              Yes! They know and don't care. I haven't believed them for some years now.I am fully aware of the tests and their effects. I have baby dolphins washing up on my shores."fetuses"… As well as other things happening.

              Florida checking in. Yes I'm a newbie. But an Nformed newbie…

  • pinksailmatt pinksailmatt

    I'm going to The Gorge soon, to spend a few weeks sailing on the Columbia. I'm always looking for a bigger swell to ride…:-)

  • pinksailmatt pinksailmatt

    Nformed…your 2nd link doesn't work….but welcome to ene!

  • Nformed

    I posted a working link.Lemme know if it is working correctly


    Quote: "He says that flooding could result in the release of radioactive material from portions of Hanford in to the water,but he says that same water would dilute the radiation to a very low level off site"

    Just like Fukushima?

    You should be jailed for your murdering lies!

  • TruthSeeker TruthSeeker

    Just signed up here and wanted to you thank all and admin for this site and information. I have really appreciated the good and helpful commenting from this wonderful news/blog site. You folks likely have done more to help and literally save more lives than you may know. Our failed inept government sure has not helped folks in harms way to prepare, test and take positive actions. You all have helped pointing the way forward for me and my family – CONGRATULATIONS to you all and please keep up the good work!

  • chevvvy chev

    more diluted carnivores!! 😉

  • patb2009

    assuming a major failure of wannapum, what happens?

    how high would the water be at Hanford?

    How many tanks would be compromised?

  • We Not They Finally

    It would be great if the Government might show just a little that they are concerned about the threat of radiation sickness. But they seem to not care at all. Just consider to care only about the health of the economy but not much for the lives of the American People just more concerned that they can drop the population to 500 million all over the world.Which seems to be the real concern of the Elite TWO world order and all that jazz.And with that we will see as a Saint I know said that the power that controls this world will either change or whatever…We will see what that may mean when the winds blow in an unpleasing direction….

  • TruthSeeker TruthSeeker

    Well WNTF, "We will see what that may mean when the winds blow in an unpleasing direction".

    Just maybe Washington, DC is getting a little of the goodness right now as Rad counts are now well above there average…

    287 CPM
    NETC.COM © 2014
    Station ID 5:302 Washington, D. C., DC, US
    Click here for data charts
    CPM: current 287 Low 130 High 298
    Average 172, Deviation 26
    (CPM of Gamma in energy range 600-800keV)
    Last updated: 2014-03-02 21:36:00 GMT+0000

  • chevvvy chev

    just hope they dont frack under the crack

    must be crack they are on! LOL

  • Sparky Sparky

    Locals posit regular explosions at the military Yakima Trainig Center (YTC)may have contributed to the large Wanapum Dam crack. http://www.lewis-mcchord.army.mil/yakima/history.htm

    "We have a place at Desert Aire. For those not familiar with the area YTC is just across the river. It is common place that you hear explosions all day long, but according to the locals the last week has been full of house shaking explosions. The unsubstantiated theory is that they may have played apart in the dams crack."
    Source: http://hunting-washington.com/smf/index.php?topic=148593.0

    "I just wanted to throw this in there for you to think about. Just West of the dam there is a military ordnance trainingfiring range, Yakima, WA. When a large ordnance impacts bedrock on the firingrange, I feel it in my home shaking. I just bet that the dam that sits on the very same bedrock just below the impact area, It is also shaken to the foundation. I do not think the designers or builders had that in mind during construction. Someone should call the training facility in Yakima WA. and ask them for a cease fire until the get the dam fixed. Just a thought??? Vantage, WA."

    See also 2 posts by Bobby M., same page.
    Source: http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/lateststatenews/1970390-8/65-foot-crack-discovered-in-wanapum-dam-a-serious

    • Sparky Sparky

      From "Skywag", E. Washington re: Yakima military explosions near Wanapum Dam,

      "The Desert Airport is only 8 miles downstream. I need to get some Edo 2000's fast for my Cherokee.

      Right across the Columbia River is the Yakima Firing Range. The military has been setting off unusually large explosions in the last week. Our house and hangar have been bouncing around. I think they cracked the dam as well."
      Source: http://www.pilotsofamerica.com/forum/showthread.php?t=68960

    • tbg

      Maybe the japanese are training on the use of small yield nukes in anticipation of both the amendment that will allow them to announce they have them already and their "impending" war with china.

      With their space program and Tons of weapons grade, and the 300kg's we "loaned" them, they are all set to build plenty icbm's, but those are big escalation weapons, I dont think they'd throw that card but small scale infantry nukes would not surprise me, what else are they gonna do with all that weapons grade? I always wonder where is That kept, they have So Much and its not all at Rokkasho.

      Its amazing how if you read the japanese news they talk about war with China almost as a certainty, every site has it on their front page every day and it was a totally contrived BS squabble about rock islands no one wanted until the japanese government bought it from the private citizen owners to start shit with China. Now they act like they're wronged, like passive aggressive bitches.
      Of course with Richland always being skyhigh on NETC, I don't guess we would know if they were using low yields but I just wonder if normal tank or artillery rounds could crack the dam, although it is pretty old.

      • Sparky Sparky

        Hey tbg, Very insightful commentary–thanks! Jp-China tensions are high, for sure, and some may be itching to flex their military muscle. Pretty certain that the US will be there to cover Jp's back (and US interests). Then there's the situation in the Ukraine…?

        Whatever the reasons for the escalating military training exercises at the YTC, it is clear from local residents' comments that there were numerous "unusually large" explosions there in the week immediately preceding the discovery of the crack in the W. dam.

        I hope the military brass put a moratorium on the shelling at YTC until the magnitude, cause and solutions to the dam's structural problems can be identified. Otherwise, the continued explosions could make bad situation exponentially worse.

  • Sparky Sparky

    Local voices: Source, http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/reader_feedback/public/display.php?source_id=2023019385&source_name=mbase

    From Daveca (excerpt):
    “This would be BAD timing to flood the Hanford 300 Area at the time they are excavating the highly radioactive site where the tank was just removed.

    If that flood water hits the excavation at the 300 Area, its possible to spread contamination down river if there is enough turbulence. If it does hit the river, then it may depend on Mc Nary holding it back. This last paragraph just came from someone conneted with Hanford, not in any official capacity. Point is, its not so much relevant how much contamination could enter the river, the S Will HTF if ANY reaches it.”

    r90s (excerpt):
    “There are regular emergency simulation drills that assume a catastrophic dam failure upstream and all agencies involved practice their response. There isn't a risk of inundation of Hanford, or Portland, or other communities downstream.”

    It would have been nice if the Times would use a recent photo of Wanapum Dam. That one is about 15 years old. That big pipe across the face – long gone.”

    [Continued below]

    • Sparky Sparky

      Local voices (con't.)
      “Wanapum Dam is upriver of Hanford, the site of millions of gallons of radioactive and chemical waste. Wanapum sits above Priests Rapid Dam, both owned by Grant County. A catastrophic failure at Wanapum would mean to save Priests Rapids, they would open its flood gates. This water then would barrel into the Columbia Reach and Hanford. I believe the reporters covering this are clueless of the region. It's not just farmers and fisherman.”

      Upper Decker (excerpt):
      “The reality is that no one has experience with a damn failure on a river as large as the Colombia in middle for Spring floods.
      Grant County needs to level with people that this is a serious situation and provide a detailed response. Or just tell us that they don't know what they are doing …”

      Source: http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/reader_feedback/public/display.php?source_id=2023019385&source_name=mbase

  • hanfordia

    HANFORDIA here.
    Yes, I am a permanently green glowing relic of downwinderism. And let me tell you: the Wanapum dam ( interesting how close the word is to wampum, a Chinook Indian word meaning either money exchange or "white sting") — is nothing more than a breathe. Think Teton Dam ( the original of which no longer exists.) Remember the Teton Dam disaster ? This is not Grand Coulee, Folks, and the most virulent death dealing in " the area" is closest to the river. I grew up having to drive through the "area" and crossing the highway over the wanapum dam. Nothing is normal about a 65 foot long gash in it 70 feet underwater. What would do that? HMMMMM…..let's think " Katrina"?—————————

  • hanfordia




    • Sparky Sparky

      Hi hanfordia, Thanks for your powerful posts! Roz's video of the Wanapum Dam/Hadford area is excellent. Thank you! Roz would do a great service if she would continue to post videos to keep locals, the US and the world informed about what's going on there. Many, many people are concerned, so you and others should know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

      The situation sounds like it's very precarious. Are you originally from the Hanford area but now living (posting) from Utah? Do you have people you're concerned about near the W. dam/Hadford.

      IMO, NETC is pretty reliable: EPA's RadNet is not. In WA, Richland, Olympia and Spokane are EPA monitor sites (denoted by "5" in front of the NETC station id). Bremerton and Seattle are private citizen monitoring sites("1" in front of station id). Which is closest (but not close enough, perhaps) to the dam/Hanford: Richland and/or Seattle?

      NETC shows only two rad monitor sites in UT: Ogden (1, private),and Salt Lake City(5, EPA RadNet).

      At what location do you want a rad monitoring station/Geiger counter (GC)?

      There are several different types of GCs available with different/similar features and "price points". With no financial or personal interest, I note that many Enenewsers have relatively inexpensive GQ-GMC monitors. I have the GMC-300E, have found it dependable, and readings are posted to NETC. Good information and peace of mind. See "Post your radiation" forum for info.

      Keep posting & stay…

    • Check out safecast if you can finish a 'kit'.

      Also inspector model is good, US made

      Another option is Aware Electronics, US made

      Beware foreign cheap detectors.

      Avoid the photo diode and cheaper tube types

      Look for and buy only pancake style detectors (not a tube)

  • hanfordia


    this is a youtube video by thewarning616 which addresses this issue- a very close up look.

  • Ness Ness

    Here's what i think happened in Hanford since before WW2: the excess weapon grade plutonium, that can be handled if you put on some gloves, has been deposed of in barrels and stored underground.

    But plutonium does not stop reacting just because you can move it around a bit when fresh. It has the capacity for *perfect density* much like water; it expands when heated AND it expands when cooled, around room temperature.

    Other substances, like americium and neptunium, both directly related to pu240 (derivatives of pu240) and also present in the barrels, group around the core formed by this anomalous density. Americium and neptunium could be (this is a guess) liquid solid matter in a state of plasma. Both could behave like corks kept under water, constantly fighting the restraints, while plutonium strives to keep centered.

    So a minuscule crack can lead to huge leaks.
    These barrels must have been leaking hellish material and radiation for decades, and will become bombs/nukes when you shake them, mess with them or transport them in any way, which is what 'they' try to hide. The science to deal with such situation has been thoroughly corrupted/patented so it has not evolved beyond: "how do we hide this from the public".


  • jec jec

    DOE hides tank leakage from public and State of Washington authorities.

    No real difference from WIPP..hide information by just having reports that are not known to have been generated, not provided unless requested..then delay like heck..

  • List And Links To Citizen Radiation Monitoring Geiger Counter Networks; via @AGreenRoad

  • If that dam goes.. the one below it goes… and the shit hits the fan….


    This document tells the story of what will happen.. all the "100" areas, possibly the "200" as well.