TV: “Far more serious than Feds letting on” at US nuclear site — Many workers in much worse shape than reported — Week-long nosebleeds, intense headaches, shaking, burning lungs, vomiting — Worker: Now I’m worrying… after two weeks I feel worse, not better (VIDEO) #Hanford

Published: April 10th, 2014 at 2:02 am ET


KING5 News Seattle, Apr. 8, 2014: An unprecedented string of unknown chemical vapor exposures has sent more than 2 dozen workers to the hospital of doctor since mid-March. […] We found the situation is far more serious than the Feds and the contractors are letting on. All of the employees were not and still are not back to work. And many have symptoms far worse than irritation. […] Right before coming to the interview, a doctor cauterized Becky’s nose to stop a week’s worth of nosebleeds. And Steve spent all of the day before throwing up. […] Her symptoms [have been] nosebleeds, intense headaches, sweats and shaking […] Steve deals with burning lungs and non-stop coughing — using inhalers and narcotics to cope. […] He’s still struggling to breathe […] Becky still has a really bad headache, but her biggest concern, this is a scary one, she’s not thinking clearly. She says she’s forgetting a lot of things and that’s really frightening to her. […] They aren’t the only ones. I’ve talked to others who say their lungs are burning, they don’t feel right, but they’ve been cleared to work, so they’re out on the job.

Becky Holland, health physics technician and 28-year veteran of the Hanford Site: “I felt kind of dizzy like I couldn’t walk. […] It was hard for me to get my nose to stop bleeding”

Steve Ellingson, health physics technician at Hanford: “Now I’m getting worried because this is two weeks and it’s not better. Yesterday was the worst day I’ve had. I’m getting worried that this may be the way that I am the rest of my life.”

Watch the broadcast here

Published: April 10th, 2014 at 2:02 am ET


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76 comments to TV: “Far more serious than Feds letting on” at US nuclear site — Many workers in much worse shape than reported — Week-long nosebleeds, intense headaches, shaking, burning lungs, vomiting — Worker: Now I’m worrying… after two weeks I feel worse, not better (VIDEO) #Hanford

  • 4Warnd 4Warnd

    Hanford, Chernobyl, Fukush#t and WIPP.

    toxic danger, toxic industry, toxic risks….

    my compassionate vein has worn thin. anger and more [d]anger.

    • bluetick

      not to be non compassionate but did they not realize where they were working? they knew people get sick there all the time.. I do not feel like these are innocent victims as they know the dangers of working there…let it be a warning to others quit ASAP..

      • tsfw tsfw

        I feel the same way. My initial reaction is these poor people how tragic. And then I think, well they are doing the same thing to us only a slower version of it. Perhaps it's unraveling the way it needs to for the workers to realize what they're playing with. They're the ones who have to put an end to this; they have to all stand up and say no amount of money is worth the destruction they're a part of. Really what can we do other than inform people, protest and sign petitions and donate money? I don't want to end up like that nun although my hat goes off to her. I imagine that as these old decrepit plants start to fall apart, the workers will become increasingly fearful and hopefully start questioning the industry.

        • tsfw tsfw

          Furthermore, my compassion is all taken up for my kids, the animals, planet, oceans, and all the innocents. Let's not forget who is doing this to us!

        • 4Warnd 4Warnd

          I would trust your initial reaction….working people are, at bottom, blameless. It is the moneyed class, the investors, the military mindset, etc. that have wrought this upon the Earth. Rage, rage on, but pick and choose your targets well.

          • tsfw tsfw

            I hear what you're saying but I disagree. We give these people power by being their bitches. If nobody joined the army, they might be forced to use their words and if nobody joined the nuclear field, they'd be forced to find alternative energy sources. WE are the authority at the end of the day in what we accept and don't accept.

      • lucius.cornelius

        not to be non compassionate but did they not realize where they were working?

        They were almost certainly bombarded with "we are safe here" propaganda. Much would have been made of "the company's safety record", possibly expressed as something like "xxx road miles per ton of waste and 1000's of tons already shipped and stored and no accidents at all".
        Whilst I'm sure there would have been some "this stuff is dangerous" type talks, most would have been a glorious feel good orgy of unrealistic positivity and spin – much as most companies do these days.

        Plus, it's unlikely that any of the people doing the actual work would have believed anyone in America could be so catastrophically stupid as to allow fracking in close proximity to an underground nuclear waste storage site. An act that's approximate to building a fire in the bottom of your canoe and then screaming about 'idiot river designers' when it sinks.

        Usually, the poor workers, the people that actually do the thing that earns all the money (that they don't get paid much of), are innocent. Lied to, misled and exploited, if by nothing else than by being under an economic system that leaves people having to compromise their own and everyone else's future, in order to feed themselves and their families.

        The useless eaters that sit about in offices, patting each other on the back and taking double digit payrises each and every year, on the other hand, are vermin and need to be expunged from the…

        • lucius.cornelius

          …workplace for ever.

          Keeping posts just under the word limit (I had 6 characters to spare) doesn't seem to stop the last dozen or so being cropped.

        • whatamessa

          Yes,they are disgusting and must be held accountable!

    • How Do Radiation Exposure Victims Get Compensation For Health And Property Damages? via @AGreenRoad

    • Arizonan Arizonan

      Does anyone know if there is an air plume still coming out of those Hanford tanks, just as there still seems to be a "small" plume of Pu etc. coming out of WIPP? If so, has anyone modeled the Hanford plume? Where is this blowing to right now, folks?

    • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

      Well, here is a good synopsis of what the exposed Hanford workers can expect.

      This is a great read.

      The author is Robert Jacobs, an associate professor at the Hiroshima Peace Institute of Hiroshima City University in Japan.

  • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

    "…health physics technician…"???

    garbage man—sanitation engineer
    secretary—executive assistant
    cab driver—transportation specialist
    technology prostitute—nuclear engineer

    “Now I’m getting worried …"
    Look at what it takes to get their attention.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture


    Shaking, burning, coughing, not thinking clearly .. symptoms reminiscent of 2011.

  • dharmasyd dharmasyd

    Hey: our own, enenews' own, health physics professional, joieau, worked cleanup and health at the 3 Mile Island disaster and is a great commenter and source of real information here. So, we just can't knock the entire profession. Additionally, who knows what really is happening at Hanford?

  • haizedustrium-1234 haizedustrium-1234

    The symptoms are gradually showing up more to radiation sickness than chemical poisoning, although both could be possible. If all these symptoms were found within the first 30 min of exposure it is considered to be acute radiation sickness, where this seems to be a tiny bit short of acute radiation sickness, there release from hospital was definitely no reason for joy.

    • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose does look like radiation sickness.

      • haizedustrium-1234 haizedustrium-1234

        The medical industry wouldn’t use ‘eternal damage’ or ‘inconceivable cellular deterioration” or ‘immediate multiple body and organ malfunction’ as a diagnosis but compare the exposure to walking past an uncovered fast breeder reactor where nuclear waste had been used as a coolant with radiation levels of up to 1 Sv/h. The father of one of my friends died this way from similar exposure. They were brainwashed into safety by so called essential staff. Their crimes will never expire. Never.

    • mairs mairs

      Isn't there a latency period after getting a high dose of radiation? I think it's a couple of weeks to a month.


        entirely depends, mairs, on various parameters of exposure. Level of dose, type and duration of exposure are critical factors in how long it takes for any biological organism to be affected. It could take only a matter of minutes (high flux exposure) to as long as decades (low level internal exposure), for a biological organism to be terminally affected. It's all about modalities. And I'm sure others, out here, can develop these issues in greater detail…

        • irhologram

          Mairs and Aftershock/ In the list I posted below of odors experienced there, please factor in other sources than the possible radioactive contamination by remembering "rotten eggs" and "fruit," are indicators of H2S, while considering the mud slide, most likely a Lahar, that just occurred on the other side of Glacier Peak…same adjoining volcanic area, right? Also consider the 65 foot 2 inch crack in Wanapaum Dam, and the term "creep" used to describe what's been displacing equipment and structural alignment. (The whole topography is moving.) When I bring up H2S as a common denominator in these escalating events, I get: "How could you say we should even consider gas when radiation is deadly!" and "Are you trying to say nuclear isn't bad?" What we are facing is multifaceted. What I have been saying is H2S is a neurotoxin that eats metal, absorbs into rubber, wood, paper, cloth, etc., is especially reactive with copper and all things electric, and doesn't just combust, it explodes. The white, oozy lung fluid reported here is also found in the mystery flu that's killing people (that they later admit doesn't test out to be flu or Norivirus). Could this be from radiation? Yes, but it could also be from H2S, and if it is, IMHO, yes, that could be worse, because H2S will "take down" nuclear facilities (and then you have both perils), AS IT HAS BEEN DOING, in weld leaks, control panel, switchyard and transformer fires, and glitched back-up systems.

          • Homolumina Homolumina

            Thank you for that information irhologram

          • haizedustrium-1234 haizedustrium-1234

            Irhologram, you touched on a very interesting subject, which is going by smell, meaning the human body should be used as a testing instrument. The industrial century was initiated long ago and therefore gas and radiation instruments should be used prior to declaring an area safe and during occupation at all times. The problem had been that workers got sent home after exceeding Gov standards for annual exposure in a short time at many high risk facilities and they cannot wear the same moon walk suit every – it gets contaminated and worn and is very expensive, so they find workarounds.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    This is all very sad… 🙁

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Coast to coast tonight, guest says radiation is no problem, all is fine, and no one died at Fukushima and the news coming out of Japan states the same…? Us news is the problem? There is so much negative coverage? Not sure what planet this guy lives on… 🙁

    • GQR2

      The guest on C2C must live on the planet liar where they speak disinformation.

      • Radio Radio

        "The guest on C2C must live on the planet liar where they speak disinformation."
        – GQR2

        Brilliant G!

      • name999 name999

        gqr2…finally, only liars were left on the irradiated smoking planet. Anyone suspected of being
        honest was shot on sight.

    • Helena Handbasket Helena Handbasket

      This week I was banned from commenting on the progressive news site Common Dreams, after commenting on Fukushima and WIPP. I had logged about 350 comments, over a few years, without even being flagged. Wtf?!

    • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

      C2C sight says the show was last night (9Apr14)

      Guest was author Craig Nelson

      He is the author of
      The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era

      Since there is no bio/CV offered, the it is safe to assume he has no technical background and is more of a historian/journalist.

      If he is downplaying the nuclear exposure issue, it is likely that he is simply basing that on the propaganda he has read.

    • Crickets Crickets

      I also heard this radio program last night. To sum up what this guy, Craig Nelson, was saying…you could conclude (if you were lazy and didn't care to think) that the Pacific is a large enough body of water that the entire Fukushima mess could be bulldozed into the sea and forgotten about forever. He tried to explain that recent testing of the Bikini Island test site showed no noticeable signs of radiation, proving that it was "absorbed" by the massive amount of water in the ocean. He also downplayed the damage done by Chernobyl by saying only a handful of people died as a result. He was never seriously challenged in this assertion. Never once addressed the number of people that later died from cancer, or the people and wildlife that affected with birth defects, etc.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    He is so sure..

    • GQR2

      Craig T Nelson said that obe ?! If so that is a case of i got mine, oh well about you, watch some television ( Coach re run preferably) and have a Dominoes Death disc. Are we done yet my yacht is supposed to be ready after its seasonal maintenance. Life is great isn't snoory?

      i haven't listened yet but this extreme Normalcy bias and don't rock my world attitude on the part of celebrities is not a good sign for the non fascists among us. They will turn their heads away from obvious problems nobody wanting to stick their neck out for the plain truth.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    He must be correct.. 🙁 He is selling lots of books..who you going to call?

  • 富岡_Blue_Heron 富岡_Blue_Heron

    Sussanah Frame's reports are the clearest of all. She is possibly the best "and that's the way it is" reporter since Walter Cronkite.

  • earthsmith earthsmith

    ….Cleared to work…..
    Just like the masses….I wish them well and keep thoughts of them in positive light.
    Be kind and well my friends.
    Enrich your love….extend a hand.

  • irhologram

    Not new, folks. Here's the 2003 PDF on identical exposure/sickness.

    Interesting description of "smells," from the PDF: The chemical vapors emanating from the Hanford tanks have various described odors: ammonia,
    rotten eggs, wine, old socks, musty, diaper pail, garlic, whisky, gasoline, wet cardboard, mint, fruit,
    chloroform, and butter. Other chemicals coming off the tanks have no odors at all, such as nnitrosmethanamine
    (a carcinogen and liver toxin), propane, propene (asphyxiant),
    trichlorofluoromethane (asphyxiant), nitrous oxide, and carbon monoxide (poison)…

    PDF contains excellent topography maps and diagrams of facilities.

    This is how they covered up the medical events back then:
    HEHF management has:
    *dismissed chemical vapor related symptoms as imagined or the result of allergies;
    *designed policies of automatic referral to a mental health counselor for a host of questionable reasons;
    *shredded and altered patients‟ progress notes;
    *pressured workers to accept tank farm restrictions designed by tank farm contractors and suggested that the worker's job is at stake if they refuse;
    *pressured HEHF health care providers not to write “recordable” medical restrictions for workers;
    *prohibited patients from having a union steward, friend, or family member accompany them during medical visits.

    Nuclear Oversight Campaign

    • Seraphine Seraphine

      Does anyone know if someone's sweat might smell similar to whatever that person is exposed to from those tanks?

      • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

        The human body will out gas ammonia vapor after an extended period of aerobic activity.

        Go run for 45 minutes and then sit down while your sweat is still dripping and you can smell the ammonia.

        The ammonia smell is even more distinct if you get in to a small enclosed area like a small shower.

  • ShutItAllDown

    >"I’m getting worried that this may be the way that I am the rest of my life."

    It'll be a short life, if that's any consolation.

    • Nemo Me Impune Lacessit Stax

      I can guarantee it will be zero consolation-it's a long long dying and very painful(last few months spent being up for five minutes and then back to bed for a few hours to get enough energy to get up for five minutes,incontinence and as soon as you cannot communicate they will cease to feed,you then have approx three weeks until death-zero consolation)

  • “Now I’m getting worried…" – Steve Ellingson, health physics technician

    He's two steps ahead of Marie Curie.

    "Although her many decades of exposure to radiation caused chronic illnesses (including near blindness due to cataracts) and ultimately her death, she never really acknowledged the health risks of radiation exposure."

    • American Phoenix57

      Check out the damage to her hands.

      I took a look at the hands, still and limp on the bed. They were hardened, calloused, deeply burned and thick-skinned. “What is this?” I asked myself, but I must have said it out loud because Eve heard me.

      “Radium,” she said.


      “Those were her last words— ‘Was it done with radium or with mesothorium?’ As she was stirring her tea with a spoon— no, no, not a spoon, but a glass rod or some delicate laboratory instrument… She had drawn away from human beings; she had joined those beloved ‘things’ to which she had devoted her life, and joined them forever.”

      A cup of tea and now dead? That didn’t sound good. “Poisoned?” I asked. I never mind stating the obvious.

      “Yes, poisoned. By radium. In the laboratory, she always used to say, ‘That polonium has a grudge against me.’”

      “Radium— or polonium?”


      “A conspiracy?”

      I could see the news was shocking to her— she didn’t know what to say. A doctor entered the room to pick up a chart. I followed him; maybe he’d have some answers. “The disease was an aplastic pernicious anaemia of rapid, feverish development,” he said, and I scribbled in my notebook as fast as I could to get it all down. “The bone marrow didn’t react, probably because it had been injured by a long accumulation of radiations.”

      Excerpt from What killed Madame Curie? (Part 1)
      by Jim Pivarski

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Few have ever acknowledged the real health risks.. 🙁 Such a big powerful business model.. 🙁

  • Jebus Jebus

    Nuclear Powerball – You Win! …err

  • ftlt

    Ignore it and it will go away.

  • If any of you Hanford workers are reading this… check this out…

    Who is watching your back in the nuclear industry?

    Symptoms Of Low Dose Radiation Exposure; via A Green Road

  • dosdos dosdos

    People who work at nuclear facilities tend to be ignorant of the effects of radiation on the human body. If they were aware of them, they wouldn't be working there. You see it in many of the pro nuke supporters, spouting off with the myths that go around these circles. Everyone I have known who suffered problems from working at a nuclear facility has told me the exact same thing, "I didn't know." The myth of safety begins inside the industry.

    You'll never find me around one of those facilities. I know better. I've seen the damage first hand.

  • dosdos dosdos

    Japanese elementary text books void of mention of Fukushima disaster. Censorship is obviously rife in Japan.

  • amberlight amberlight

    As others here have mentioned (or implied), I cannot have a lot of empathy for people who refuse to research or question the industry they work in, even after decades of evidence that exposure to radiation sickens and kills. They must surely also be aware that upper management has been both incompetent and deceptive in dealing with mishaps. Why would the workers then believe anyone who tells them that there is no danger to them or local residents?

    Those workers with children are guilty of child abuse just as surely as if they left their children alone in a car on a hot summer day. Sorry if I am ruffling sensitive feathers, but I have my own family to think of and nuke enablers here and abroad are endangering MY loved ones as well as innocents everywhere.

    • 4Warnd 4Warnd

      a.l. spake: " I cannot have a lot of empathy for people …"
      and also some comments about innocents and the guilty.

      this seems to be misplaced anger. workers are an easy target, real, walking around and suffering. Blame the victim sort of stuff.

      Choose your targets well, military, investors, corporate interests….the workers are leaves of grass, in the stream of this mess.

    • name999 name999

      amberlight, the whole basis of disinformation is to confuse with a mix of facts and lies. There are so many phds and drs, academics, claiming that nuclear production is completely safe. The people to give no support and sympathy to are those knowingly lying. They know what they are doing and they
      are doing it for money. Most working people are victimized by this propaganda machine but they
      don't realize it.

  • cooterboy

    Hanford is a sick game that has been going on for 70 years. The players are the governor of Washington, DOE, NRC, Congress, prime contractors and their sub contractors. Everyone and everything related to nuclear gets rich. Others will die.

    The facts are, there has been no action with any results of the intended idea of "cleaning up" Hanford. Billions of tax payer dollars have been spent and billions more will be required to produce no results.

    In 1950 the general public was ignorant about anything nuclear. That is not true today. The policies of secrecy then, are true today. Don't tell the public anything because they are ignorant, but they have deep pockets to pay for these nuclear follies.

    There was little information coming out of Hanford, but there was some. Now that Jay Inslee, our governor, has raised a stink about getting the feds to do their job, he has created a black hole. This hole is now a legal abyss and no information will come from Hanford. Our AG stated that a lawsuit will be forth coming which means Hanford doesn't have to share any information about the site or the workers who have been poisoned. Thanks Jay for giving Hanford a hall pass.

    All around this site citizens are dying a slow nuclear death. The Yakima valley is a killing field. Most are migrant field workers who have no legal claim against the government.

    One afternoon one of these storage tanks will explode and there will be no where to run, no where to hide.

    • name999 name999

      cooterboy…there is no win in this one. To speak about it is to create "a black hole", to ignore it
      is no better.

      This is why the call for Barack Obama to out this criminal game would only backfire on him as Cooterboy says it did with Jay Inslee. Unfortunately there is no getting out of that box as a leader in the US.

      That is not "giving Hanford a hall pass" however. Unfortunately, David does not slay Goliath in this true story.

      • cooterboy


        I've lived in Washington over 60 years and every governor since 1950 has sued the DOE for non performance. When you lawyer up which our governor Jay and the AG has done then you enter a black hole. This is where your lawyers tell you not to talk about the suit or your operations, nothing. When you get in trouble your attorney tells you to shut up and give no information, even the police.

        The game is this; Obama has no money, congress has no money, only the American tax payer does. The state has no money and Hanford is not our problem, but we have to live with it. But in order to get money, you sue the DOE and this takes about 4-5 years and in the mean time no work is done at Hanford, this is the other side of the black hole. We all loose.

        If the state sues the DOE then all civil suits are put on hold.
        This is the law.

        Inslee should have gotten our do nothing congress to help. Inslee could have the citizens of Washington State to petition Congress for help. Both of these actions would have held open the civil complaints but oh no he lawyers up and the black hole pops up.

        A hall pass is when you LEAVE THE ROOM and ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO NONE. This is exactly what happened. DOE and the prime and sub contractors are off the hook and don't have to reveal ANY information, leaving us DOWN WINDERS to fend for ourselves.

        This is the game. This is how the conspiracy works and has for over 60 years.

        By the way David did slay Goliath. We the people will win.

  • Nick


    You nailed it!

    When nuclear has a mess to clean-up, they make sure that "they clean-up," as in make tons of moola, while actually doing nothing more than erecting erotic calendars.

    A scam is a scam is a scam.

    I suggest that we create a special civilian task force to oversea ALL nuclear clean-ups. No government, no defense contractors, no security crews, just plain old folks.

    Hanford is revealing more of it's hidden horrors by the minute.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Absolutely! 🙂 Close the door on all these people who have ruined the world…

  • bo bo

    They never once mention the word 'radiation' in this whole news clip.
    The whistleblowers never mention it either – or was it edited out..?

    'Radiation' does get included visually, in the form of 'RADIOACTIVE' signs that get shown, but the narration seems to duck the issue:

    'many toxic chemicals were used, during the processing of (oh by the way) plutonium ( oh but that was so long ago). The list of dangerous ( current) substances at Hanford includes: butanol, mercury, nitrous oxide and formaldehyde'

    Isn't plutonium itself the most dangerous substance there???
    And cesium and strontium ??

  • Ontological Ontological

    You get this industrial disease, good luck. No support systems are in place. You.'ll be fixed, billed and thrown to the wolves.

    • 4Warnd 4Warnd


      We all, eventually, must become wolves in winter. That we may be also a pack – with a single mindedness to stop this madness.

  • Nick

    I talked about sleep disorders yesterday, today I shifted to anger/insanity as possible side effects
    Of nuclear accidents.

    What if some of the insanity and anger we experience in our world is due to ionizing radiation?

    We know that Road Rage is partially explained by possible brain inflammation.

    Methinks my theory of GMI is not too far off. (Global Mass Insanity)

    Yesterday I saw a fight on a public bus. I can’t just attribute it to cabin fever. Something wicked has come our way.

    • SadieDog

      "The tower and other equipment at the test lab are designed to geometrically mimic conditions at the Pretreatment Facility, where high-level radioactive waste must be kept well mixed in tanks. A buildup of waste could lead to an uncontrolled nuclear reaction or the combustion of hydrogen gas, both unlikely events, officials say…" : /