Title: St. Louis Landfill Fire
Source: Rolling Stone
Author: Steven Hsieh
Date: May 10, 2013
An underground landfill fire near tons of nuclear waste raises serious health and safety concerns – so why isn’t the government doing more to help?
[...] It’s invisible to area residents, buried deep beneath the ground in a North St. Louis County landfill. [...] “It smells like dead bodies,” observes another local.
[...] “Am I going to end up with cancer 20 years down the road?” [...]
The Bridgeton landfill fire is burning close to at least 8,700 tons of nuclear weapons wastes. [...]
About 1,200 feet south of the radioactive EPA site, the fire at Bridgeton Landfill spreads out like hot barbeque coals. No one knows for sure what happens when an underground inferno meets a pool of atomic waste, but residents aren’t eager to find out. [...]
At a March 15th press conference, Peter Anderson – an economist who has studied landfills for over 20 years – raised the worst-case scenario of a “dirty bomb,” meaning a non-detonated, mass release of floating radioactive particles in metro St. Louis. “Now, to be clear, a dirty bomb is not nuclear fission, it’s not an atomic bomb, it’s not a weapon of mass destruction,” Anderson assured meeting attendants in Bridgeton’s Machinists Union Hall. “But the dispersal of that radioactive material in air that could reach – depending upon weather conditions – as far as 10 miles from the site could make it impossible to have economic activity continue.” [...]
Robert Criss, a geochemist at Washington University in St. Louis who has studied the issue closely, says the EPA is grossly underplaying a host of risks surrounding West Lake – flooding, earthquakes, liquefaction, groundwater leaching – that could pave the way for a public health crisis. That’s not to mention the recent development of an underground fire nearby. Says Criss, “There is no geological site I can think of that is more absurd to place such waste.” [...]
Update: 'Nuclear waste wild card' at burning St. Louis area landfill -- “We’re looking for trends in that radioactive data" -- Contamination migrating closer to area on fire? (VIDEO)
Published: May 13th, 2013 at 9:39 am ET