The New Economy: Extreme radioactive contamination responsible for US’s fastest growing metro area

Published: December 6th, 2012 at 9:56 pm ET


Title: Tri-Cities combine for nation’s fastest-growing metro area, boosted by federal money to mop up Hanford
Source: The Oregonian
Author: Richard Cockle
Date: December 05, 2012

Tri-Cities combine for nation’s fastest-growing metro area, boosted by federal money to mop up Hanford

[…] “Approximately $3 billion of federal money comes into this community every year,” Lawrence says. He’s talking about money for the environmental cleanup of Hanford and Battelle’s operation of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland.

“That,” he says, “is a huge economic base.” […]

Two years ago, Kiplinger rated the Tri-Cities among the top 10 places in the nation to raise a family. CNN/Money tabbed the towns as one of the top 10 likeliest places to make gains in housing values, owing to their stable economy. […]

No doubt the Tri-Cities would be smaller and poorer today had it not been for the 1945-91 Cold War and the arms race between the United States and Warsaw Pact nations.

The government processed tons of enriched plutonium at Hanford to manufacture tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. In the process, the 586-square-mile Hanford reservation became contaminated by 56 million gallons of dangerous radioactive chemical slurry. Much of those lethal substances now float in 150 giant underground tanks awaiting disposal. […]

See also: [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]

Published: December 6th, 2012 at 9:56 pm ET


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44 comments to The New Economy: Extreme radioactive contamination responsible for US’s fastest growing metro area

  • Seitsukie

    The acquisition of money is a grim thing to be obsessed with, I think.

    • ML

      Obsession with acquiring money and resources (aka greed) has doomed our species and has resulted in a threat to all life on earth.

      • Maggie123

        Agreed, ML – the obsession is as 'cockeyed' as any available and we humans have worked diligently to develop it into an art!

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    That is one way of stimulating the economy.. just have more nuclear accidents, then put everyone to work on the cleanup.

    Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents; via A Green Road

  • ML

    So… a little light on a bad subject: The Onion: Congress Arrested on Manslaughter Charge. Typical of The Onion's tongue in cheek but too close to "wish it were true":
    "Despite the protestations of both Congress and its legal defense team, prosecutors said the manslaughter case against the legislative body is strong, and may result in significant jail time and fines should the bicameral institution be found guilty.

    'From providing substandard health care to American citizens; to poor regulation of potentially lethal products such as cigarettes, assault weapons, [nuclear fallout and waste exposure—my add] and various pharmaceuticals; to embroiling the nation in numerous foreign wars, the case against Congress is really about as airtight as it gets,” prosecutor Derrick Allman explained while presenting a phone-book-sized warrant. “While Congress may be fairly well-connected, I’d say it would take a miracle for a jury of the legislative branch’s peers not to find them guilty as charged.',30588/
    Why not?

  • ML

    But the article is in bad taste, like many on The Onion.

  • Sickputer

    "Two years ago, Kiplinger rated the Tri-Cities among the top 10 places in the nation to raise a family"

    SP: Depends on the criteria to pick a Top Ten. Do you include health statistics and longevity? Or just wages, housing, schools, and recreation?

    How about the 12,000 Hanford Reservation workers? Carrying home dusty remnants of the 70-year legacy of nuclear waste. One speck of plutonium gets in your lungs or your kids breathe it in and you suddenly don't feel like your community is a Top Ten city.

  • lam335 lam335

    "… among the top 10 places in the nation to raise a family …"

    Never mind the fact that 586-square-miles are contaminated with 56 million gallons of "lethal" radioactive chemical slurry …

    What's a little plutonium if they have a good school system?

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    The whole area is trashed (for good) thanks to nuclear.

    53 million US gallons of high-level radioactive waste

    25 million cubic feet of solid radioactive waste

    200 square miles of contaminated groundwater beneath the site

  • Radio VicFromOregon

    Living 2 hours away from the Hanford site, i'd just like to mention a couple small details the article left out – 1) Pu239 and whatever else is now 10 feet from joining the Columbia River via groundwater. Its movement has so far been unstoppable. That is what the article refers to euphemistically as cleaning up the 250 plus feet of river bank. About 10 to 15% of the storage casks have been leaking for several decades and their contents making their way to this river, the largest on the West Coast heading out to the Pacific.The reason why a city is cropping up, is because this site was ignored until people chained themselves to the gates much like the nun and her friends walked into the uranium enrichment site recently.The government was FORCED to deal with it. Left to itself, it would not be. It took a lot of us a lot of effort to even get federal attention, and Congress preferred to ignore it because it was in Washington State, which gets military dollars. 2) the process of vitrification – removing the fluid and making the radiation into glass – is an unproven theory that has failed every attempt at the cost of billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars, but, the idea sounds so good and is the only option so far, (all else failed as well), the group keeps being awarded grants to try after over a decade of failure.This is the best hidden slow motion environmental disaster in the US, perhaps in much of the world. Hanford makes TEPCO look positively proactive.

    • Maggie123

      Ten feet. Possibly arriving over any night. Thank you Vic for spelling out the situation re Hanford along the Columbia – just so we know, just so I know.

      I adore rivers. I don't know the Columbia except by reputation, but have seen in particular the Thompson, the Athabasca, the Fraser, and have watched the Peace at flow. (All Canadian Rivers – the Thompson in the Columbia part of N.America.)

      Two 'beliefs' I hold in mind on all this (ENE topics). 1- Life endures, finds a way, insists on itself. and 2- By our attitudes, actions, supports or resistances – we can commit to the 'spirit' of life, (it being within us also).

      I honestly have no other 'anchor'.

      • owlafaye

        Sorta woo-woo Maggie…

        1- Life is fragile and nature is capricious
        2- Spirit is fine if you also have a good grip on reality, a good lawyer and a good aim.

        • Maggie123

          owlafaye – As my fingers typed it I thought 'spirit' would easily mean something I maybe didn't mean to suggest – too late – too tired – typed it anyway. 🙂

      • Maggie: As you and owlafaye have surmised, we're treading on thin ice here. Spiritually informed discussions risk being unceremoniously removed to our "Off-Topic" forum.



        Craig (hmmnn: I see that some of my apostrophe marks no longer "compute". I'll try to fix and re-post that web page –shortly.)

        • Maggie123

          Thanks, Craig-123, 🙂 There'll be no more of this from me, and I suspect olwafaye was giving me a reminder also (or I took it that way.)

          I've no objection to my comment being removed altogether, but most of all hoped it would slide into oblivion without any necessary fuss or bother on anyone's part.

          BUT WOW!! I clicked your link on the assumption it would be a 'generic web comment wisdom', (even though I could see is wasn't an ENE link – you see how loosely my brain works at times!)

          Amazing surprise!

          Am logging off, going to the link to spend some time. Thanks so very much! 🙂

        • Maggie123

          Craig-123 – Just to let you know, have had similar thoughts re tiles, have come across one other plan (super expensive – material @ halfpasthuman) I've lots of rock where I am, have thought of that – icons? images? (haven't read the imagine page yet). Have also thought of story telling. Interesting and dare I say it – beautiful – page. Thanks.

      • Radio VicFromOregon

        Thx, Maggie123 and everyone else for caring about my corner of the world. Looks like you and i have to remember that the rule here is to only deal with what you can see and measure – materialism can be very comforting for some for its apparent tangibility and predictiveness. Of course, the trick is not to be fooled by how we perceive it or we will surely, while enjoying a moment of awareness, also be sliding down into a bardoe of own making. If this were a website of astrophysicists and string theorists, they would be welcoming, but, it is not. How about a code word when we refer to the consciousness or somewhat directed animation within the material? Something like Sparky?

    • Dogleg Dogleg

      Wow Vic! I knew Hanford was contaminated, but had no idea. That is some scary stuff.

    • ForwardAssist ForwardAssist

      Vic, it's not about Hanford, but I recommend viewing the following piece on YouTube,

      "Practices of the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant"

      "Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats"

      • Radio VicFromOregon

        FowardAssist, thanks for the links. Doesn't have to be Hanford. In fact, the more we all share about all the different places where these issues are happening, the faster we will know the size of the problem and better know how to take action if we choose. It helps if i'm writing to my Senator, for example, and can refer to what worked or failed at another location. I'm also fortunate that most of my state and local representatives from both parties can be counted on to respond. We've had periods when the dialogue stops, but representatives that don't visit across the political aisle here tend to lose reelection. I appreciate the links.


      Crap! Another disaster area from sea to cloudy sea….

  • Right NOW–
    My wife was talking with niece in Kanagawa….Niece felt big earthquake, this is at least 200km from Fukushima…..

    7.3 earthquake off fukushima

    Real deal folks.

  • grouch

    Tsunami Warning Issued!! 7.3 EQ 295km SE of Kamaishi, Japan
    [link to]

    37.710°N 144.625°E depth=33.0km (20.5mi)
    Nearby Cities

    295km (183mi) SE of Kamaishi, Japan
    295km (183mi) ESE of Ofunato, Japan
    300km (186mi) SE of Otsuchi, Japan
    302km (188mi) ESE of Ishinomaki, Japan
    494km (307mi) ENE of Tokyo, Japan

    A warning for a one meter tsunami was issued for the coast of Miyagi Prefecture in northeastern Japan, which was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

  • grouch

    The pulsing ones are surrounding the coast.

    Tsunami (if coming) should arrive anytime now…

  • grouch

    The 9.0 on march 11.2011 took from 14:46 to 15:55

    69 minutes to reach sendai airport, which is located near the coast of Miyagi Prefecture…

    Pray for japan!

  • grouch

    UPDATE: One meter high tsunami hits Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture – NHK

  • grouch

    BREAKING UPDATE: 3-foot tsunami observed in Ayukawa area of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture

  • Holland Holland

    Japan is toast. 🙁

  • Proving yet again, the governments are the biggest polluters of the planet.

  • Bones Bones

    So pouring billions of tax money into an economy means an economic boost? So we can just print money and inject it into economies making them grow? That sounds like a recipe for success.

    Let's destroy more land and more people's lives to have a thriving economy. Even the healthcare industry can get a boost from all the sick people! Some sick, twisted thinking there.

  • Isotope Isotope

    But, How many cases of cancer has Hanford caused?

    >> "More than 5,000 “downwinders” —residents of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho who believe Hanford radiation caused their thyroid, breast, and other cancers—have two lawsuits pending against five corporations that ran the facility, including General Electric and DuPont."

    >> A study on "Construction and Craft Workers" at Hanford, Savannah River, Oak Ridge and Amchitka found "significantly excess mortality was observed for all cancers" and "multiple
    myeloma was in excess at Hanford"

    >> $150,000 compensation per Hanford worker who gets cancer due to employment at Hanford

    >> "2,400 people who sued in the 1990s, claiming Hanford emissions made them sick."

    >> "The U.S. Department of Energy has agreed to settle claims brought by 139 people with thyroid disease who believe radiation releases from the Hanford nuclear reservation caused their illnesses."

    These are just from a quick search. There are more.

  • Isotope Isotope

    "And why would you live near a leaking nuke plant anyway…?"


    Also, a radioactive mouse at Hanford, $115 billion to clean it up by 2090,

    and more at this interesting blogsite:

  • ForwardAssist ForwardAssist

    Hanford, Rocky Flats, and the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

    Monuments to the stupidity of man.

  • stopnp stopnp

    I've read a lot about this on the internet. Nice to see it here on enenews.