56 million gallons of the most contaminated nuclear waste in the world.
THIS LEAK IS ASSUMED TO BE THE BIGGEST IN NUCLEAR TANK FARM HISTORY.
Experts say it’s time for every American to be worried.
THIS LEAK IS ASSUMED TO BE THE BIGGEST IN NUCLEAR TANK FARM HISTORY.
Experts say it’s time for every American to be worried.
Scientists are fighting roadblocks to deal with 56 million gallons of nuclear radioactive liquid waste in 177 tanks in southeastern Washington.
In February, 2013, officials announced that six single-shell tanks were leaking. These were not the first leaks; there have been decades of earth contamination.
As AP reported, the expanded leak was first detected after an alarm went off at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation on Sunday, April 17.
It’s unclear exactly how much waste spilled out, but estimates place the amount at somewhere between 3,000 and 3,500 gallons, according to the Tri-City Herald.
A leak in a massive nuclear waste storage tank at the Hanford Site has expanded significantly, KING 5 learned this weekend.
After leak detector alarms sounded early Sunday morning, crews at Hanford lowered a camera into the two-foot-wide space between the tank's inner and outer walls.
They discovered 8.4 inches of radioactive and chemically toxic waste has seeped into the annulus.
[THESE TANKS ARE MASSIVE, AS YOU CAN SEE IN THE PHOTO AT THE TOP OF THE BLOG, WHICH IS WHY 8.4 INCHES OF THE LEAKED WASTE BETWEEN THE TWO WALLS IN A TANK THAT SIZE EQUALS 3,000 TO 3.500 GALLONS. EACH OF THESE TANKS OF THAT DESIGN HOLD ONE MILLION GALLONS OF WASTE.]
KING 5 News, May 5, 2016 (emphasis added):
"Record number of Hanford workers sickened by toxic vapors — An unprecedented number of workers at Hanford have been exposed to dangerous chemical vapors since Thursday, April 28. In one week’s time a total of 47 people either sought medical attention… Symptoms reported by workers include a headache, burning nose and throat, nausea, a metallic taste in the mouth, elevated blood pressure, and dizziness…
[T]hose familiar with the nuclear site cannot remember so many people falling victim in such a short period…
On May 4, two more evacuations were enacted at the site after workers smelled odors and experienced symptoms…
“Forty-two employees have been evaluated as a precautionary measure."
11 WERE HOSPITALIZED.
ALSO FROM KING 5, UPDATED MAY 19, 2016:"HANFORD'S DIRTY SECRETS"
"KING 5 began reporting in 2013 on chemical leaks and government violations at Hanford, a 586-square mile government area in south central Washington.
KING 5 discovered that the clean-up timeline wasn’t the only concern with the effort. The government failed to disclose a leaking tank, and clean-up workers were getting sick from toxic fumes venting out of the tanks.
The 2014 series led to the Washington attorney general filing suit against the government to force better worker safety practices.
This series, Hanford’s Dirty Secrets, focused on how Dept. of Energy officials, along with officials from a private contractor, hid from the public and Washington State the fact that nuclear waste had started to leak from a 1 million gallon tank.
KING 5 ultimately found that Hanford officials knew or should have known the tank was actually leaking liquid into the annulus in 2011. Geffre was the first worker to discover it, yet managers dismissed his evidence.
In effect, a serious leak was kept quiet for a year. During that time, the contractor that manages all the tank farms for DOE – Washington River Protection Solutions – was able to collect payments from the government for work it said would make AY-102 ready to play a role in transferring waste to the Vit Plant.
That work, however, was pointless given the leak. A leaking tank could not be used to store waste before sending it to the Vit Plant.
The tanks have their own internal chemistry – they are hot and active.
They are also affected by atmospheric pressure.
When the barometer drops or the temperature changes rapidly, the tanks need to vent pressure.
When this happens, no radiation escapes, thanks to filters on the vent stacks. But the filters don’t screen out the toxic chemicals.
The venting happens unpredictably.
Workers who are not wearing respirators or breathing provided air can become violently ill and permanently disabled.
As a result of our reporting, the Washington attorney general sued the government to force DOE and contractors to take stronger steps to protect workers. For a while Hanford officials increased safety regimens in the tank farms, but those extra layers of safety have been rolled back in some cases.
A series of vapor events happened in April and May [THIS YEAR, 2016].
Fifty MORE workers reported vapor exposure and were evaluated for any health impacts.
The spate of vapor incidents suggests safety protocols that came after KING’s 2014 series aren’t being followed … or larger problems are at play."
LAST REPORTED "EVENT"
May 7, 2016:
Spike in radiation levels after toxic waste leak at Washington nuclear site — Radiation levels at the Hanford, Washington nuclear waste site have spiked to “elevated risk” after thousands of gallons of toxic waste leaked in April…
The recent readings from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have revealed that a sharp spike in the radiation level had been registered in Richland on the morning of May 5.
The readings show the random jump when the toxic fume rates briefly reached around 410 CPM (counts per minute), nearly the highest possible level…
The most recent radiation spike comes less than a month after a massive leak was first detected…
May 2, 2016:
Tom Carpenter, Executive Director of Hanford Challenge:
“A second double-shelled nuclear waste tank is showing signs of having failed, you find that out because there’s high radiation levels in between the two shells of the tank. There should be no radiation in that space… but instruments they have deployed there show high radiation levels, plutonium, cesium, strontium-90, etc. – well where did that come from
It probably came from the tank, meaning there’s a hole.”…
So we’re looking at potentially a catastrophe, a disastrous catastrophe.
[Carpenter:] “Every day we’re looking at that at Hanford – I’m totally serious.”
The state of Washington has been pressuring the federal government, which owns Hanford, to pump out TANK AY-102 for three-and-a-half years because of the cracking and slow leaking discovered in 2011.
FIVE YEARS AGO, AND LEAKING ALL THIS TIME!
“This is catastrophic. This is probably the biggest event to ever happen in tank farm history.
The double shell tanks were supposed to be the saviors of all saviors (to hold waste safely from people and the environment),” said former Hanford worker Mike Geffre.
Geffre is the worker who first discovered that the tank, known as AY-102, was failing in 2011.
In a 2013 series, “Hanford’s Dirty Secrets," the KING 5 Investigators exposed that the government contractor in charge of the tanks, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), ignored Geffre’s findings for nearly a year.
The company finally admitted the problem in 2012.
Sources told KING the disturbance caused by the pumping must have exacerbated the leak: essentially blowing a hole in the aging tank allowing the material to leak more quickly into the outer shell.
Tank AY-102 is one of 28 double-shell tanks at Hanford (there are 177 underground tanks total) holding nuclear byproducts from nearly four decades of plutonium production on the Hanford Nuclear Site, located near Richland, Washington.
Initially the plutonium was used to fuel the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in
World War II.
The new leak poses problems on several fronts.
The outer shell of AY-102 does not have the exhaust or filtration system needed to keep the dangerous gases created by the waste in check.
Workers have been ordered to wear full respiratory safety gear in the area, but the risk remains.
“The hazards to workers just went up by a factor of 10,” said Geffre.
In addition, the breakdown calls into question the viability of three other double-shell tanks at Hanford that have the exact design of AY-102.
“The primary tanks weren't designed to stage waste like this for so many years,” said a current worker. “There’s always the question, ‘Are the outer shells compromised’”?
The accumulation of waste in the outer shell also means the deadliest substance on earth is that much closer to the ground surrounding the tank.
And currently there is no viable plan in place to take care of it."
"The Hanford site represents two-thirds of the nation's high-level radioactive waste by volume.
Today, Hanford is the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States and is the focus of the nation's largest environmental cleanup.
The government spends $2 billion each year on Hanford cleanup — one-third of its entire budget for nuclear cleanup nationally.
The cleanup is expected to last decades.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE AT HANFORD
June 6, 2013, 3 YEARS AGO!
"The U.S. Department of Energy has owned Hanford since 1989.
Bechtel National is contracted by DOE to oversee the construction of a vitrification plant. Vitrification means processing the waste into glass logs.
The decision was made to begin construction of the plant before the design had been vetted. Consequently, there are design problems that could lead to explosions or nuclear reactions.
The vitrification process is incredibly complicated and requires chemical and radiological analysis before pre-treatment.
One of the many problems is the lack of inventory of what toxic waste is where.
The 56 million gallons of waste make up any number of different shapes and denseness and so could be solid, liquid or gas. In many cases, waste has layered as it settled over time.
For the vitrification process to begin, consistency of the waste materials must be made and then kept uniform in order to be able to flow through pipes and filters without clogging.
Clogging could result in enough plutonium collecting to trigger a nuclear chain reaction or backflow spreading the problem throughout the entire system.
Currently, there is no design to do any of this effectively.
Another safety concern showing the mismanagement of Hanford is the potential for hydrogen gas buildup in double-shell tanks used to store waste removed from leaking single-shell tanks.
Flammable gas builds up if there is insufficient ventilation, releasing radioactive material.
Adequate ventilation is being used [OBVIOUSLY NOT!] , but there is no backup plan.
Instead of going from one toxic mishap to another, it’s time for better oversight.
Too little progress has been made over the years.
Toxic waste must be stopped from entering our environment and threatening public health.
Who is our champion?
President Obama and Congress, should they ever get off their politically divided arses, could create an oversight board with teeth of accountability.
The federal government created this “nuclear pickle,” after all. It cannot be swept under the rug.
Senators Murray and Cantwell, et al., should be screaming at the tops of their lungs in outrage. Instead, it appears it’s up to us to make our voices heard. Surely they’d all want to hear from their constituents."
WELL, 3 YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE THE ABOVE ARTICLE, AND NO SENATORS, NO CONGRESS, NO PRESIDENT, NO ONE HAS DONE A BLOODY THING ABOUT HANFORD!
AT HANFORD, WORKER SAFETY IS BARELY A CONSIDERATION.
Unlike Fukushima, where cleanup crews are aware of the danger, in Hanford virtually nobody is aware of the dangers of the radioactive seepage.
YOU CAN HEAR IT FROM WORKERS THEMSELVES...THEY JUST WERE NOT INFORMED, THEY REALLY DIDN'T KNOW THE DANGER THERE.
BACK IN 2014....
KING 5 Seattle (NBC), June 4, 2014:
" It’s an unprecedented series of workplace accidents in the state.
Since mid-March the number of Hanford workers seeking medical help after breathing in chemical vapors has risen to 34.
- Susannah Frame, reporter: Vapors causing serious illnesses at Hanford is not new… at the most contaminated workplace in the nation, OSHA can’t get past the gates to investigate.
- Diana Gegg, Hanford worker: It’s turned my life upside down.
- Frame: Brain damage, sudden tremors, vision loss, dementia – Illnesses the gov’t admits were caused by exposure… she can’t go out without a wheelchair, cook, or drive.
NBC Right Now, June 5, 2014: Sick Former Hanford Worker Speaks Out
- Jane Sander, reporter: He sadly lives his life with a deadly disease…
- Lawrence Rouse, Hanford worker: I have toxic encephalopathy… it eats your brain away.
- Sander: Near the end of his almost 20 years at Hanford… he began to develop severe symptoms. Stuttering, memory loss, losing teeth…emotionally unstable…violent outbursts.
- Rouse: [My son] wrote this letter, this little poem, and said that his dad is gone… It would rain the chemicals on you from the stack. That’s why we wore the baseball caps.
- Sander: The Washington Dept. of Labor and DOE denied [compensation]… Since the [EEOICPA] program began in 2001, they’ve paid more than $1 billion in compensation and medical bills to [6,936 Hanford] workers…
- Rouse: DOE has always denied everything. And that’s not going to change.
- Sander: More Hanford workers continue to file claims for their illnesses.
THEY ADMIT GUILT, BUT NOT ONE GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL, NOT ONE EXECUTIVE RESPONSIBLE HAS BEEN CHARGED FOR THIS ONGOING NEGLIGENCE AND FAILURE TO PROTECT HUMAN LIVES.
AND THEY SAY THEY'LL CONTINUE "CLEANING UP" FOR DECADES...DECADES?
HOW MANY LIVES WILL THAT COST?
FOLKS, WE HAVE PERHAPS WORSE THAN FUKUSHIMA RIGHT HERE IN THE USA!
NBC Right Now, Apr. 30, 2014: Former Hanford Worker Sick from Nuclear Waste
- Jane Sander, reporter: A nuclear waste spill happened hours before at the tank farm.
- Lonnie Poteet, Hanford worker: I was already burning from my glove line to my t-shirt line and… starting to lose a little bit of vision in my right eye… Why didn’t they say something?
- Sander: Poteet describes living his life now as recluse… sharp pains in his head, they cause him to often twitch. He says medication prevents him from collapsing in pain due to severe nerve damage in his brain.
- Poteet: [More Hanford workers] are going to be exposed to
the same situation… Nobody is going to do anything to stop it… As long
as there’s profit… and they get their bonuses on a decent time, that’s
all they care about…
Most of the workers onsite right now are running scared. They will not bring up any safety concerns because as soon as you do, you’re going to be labeled and thrown off the site, just as fast as they can go.
They’ll either create stuff that never happened, or they’ll find ways to get you."
LET'S THINK ABOUT WHAT POTEET SAID:
"As long as there’s profit… and they get their bonuses on a decent time, that’s all they care about…"
RECENTLY, HILLARY CLINTON CAUGHT HELL FROM THE APPALACHIAN COAL MINERS BECAUSE WHE SAID SHE'D LIKE TO SHUT THE COAL INDUSTRY DOWN.
WHILE CLINTON IS JUST ANOTHER LYING, SCHEMING POLITICIAN, LIKE ALL THE REST, AND WHILE NO PRESIDENT ALONE & SINGLE-HANDEDLY COULD EVER SHUT DOWN ANY INDUSTRY, THIS RAISES A RED FLAG, THE RESPONSE BY THE COAL MINERS AND WHAT POTEET SAID ABOVE.
MEN WHO WORK IN COAL MINES HAVE BEEN DYING FROM IT FOR AS FAR BACK AS MY 70-YEAR-OLD MEMORY GOES.
BLACK LUNG, CANCER, EMPHYSEMA, A LIST OF WAYS COAL KILLS.
THE MEN WORKING COAL KNOW THIS, FOR THEY, TOO, HAVE SEEN FATHERS AND GRANDFATHERS WHO DIED EARLY DEATHS FROM SUCH AS THE ABOVE, FROM MINE CAVE-INS, FROM EXPLOSIONS, FROM COAL.
OF THE MEN LIKE POTEET AND OTHERS WORKING IN THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY, SOME AT LEAST HAVE HEARD OF THE DANGER INVOLVED, THE KILLING EFFECTS OF RADIATION, WOULDN'T WE ASSUME?
AND YET MANY (MOST?) OF THE COAL MINERS AND THE NUCLEAR WORKERS GET ANGRY WHEN ANYONE WANTS TO SHUT THE TWO KILLING FIELDS DOWN. THEY FIGHT THE SHUTDOWN OF THE VERY THINGS THAT ARE KILLING THEM OR COWORKERS!
THE PAY IS GOOD, THERE'S FEW OTHER JOBS THAT PAY AS WELL, AND FEW OTHER JOBS, PERIOD IN APPALACHIA, ESPECIALLY.
SO, TO PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILIES, THESE MEN, MANY WHO KNOW WELL THE RISKS, GO INTO MINES AND NUCLEAR SITES AND RISK IT ALL FOR THE MONEY IT TAKES TO LIVE IN THE USA.
HOW MUCH MONEY WOULD BUY A HUMAN LIFE?
WHAT'S THE VALUE OF A MAN?
WHEN INDUSTRIES LIKE COAL AND NUCLEAR 'ENERGY' WRITE THOSE CHECKS TO PAY THEIR WORKERS, DO THEY NEVER SEE THE REAL VALUE OF THE HUMAN BEINGS THEY HAND THEM TO?
NOR DO THEY SEE THE VALUE OF YOU, OR ME, OR OUR FAMILIES.
THEY ASSIGN MORE VALUE TO PROFIT.
THE SAME GOES FOR OUR "REGULATORY AGENCIES", THE EPA, FDA, NRC, OSHA, ALL OF THEM.
THEIR FAILURES GO WAY, WAY BACK.
YES, THIS WAS IN 1981!
"It is said that cleanup costs to the company owning the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant might bankrupt it and ''cloud the future of the whole (nuclear) industry'' (news story Feb. 15).
I submit that the proposal by the Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee that taxpayers bear the costs will set an even more disastrous precedent."
THAT'S RIGHT, TAXPAYERS PAY FOR THESE CLEANUPS.
AND NO ONE IN THESE COMPANIES EVER GOES TO JAIL.
BECAUSE OUR "PROTECTION AGENCIES" ONLY PROTECT THE INDUSTRIES THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT US AGAINST.
THE 'OVERSEERS' BLIND THEMSELVES, AND US, TO THE FACTS AND NEVER SEND NUCLEAR 'ENERGY' OR COAL OR OIL INDUSTRY'S EXECS TO JAIL.
THAT MIGHT "HARM THE ECONOMY"... SO, TO HELL WITH HUMAN LIVES!
TO ME, THAT MEANS THE REGULATORY/PROTECTION AGENCIES ARE SELLING LICENSES TO KILL.
OSHA FAILS...FINES DIDN'T FIX THIS!
May 9, 2016
MORAINE, Ohio (WDTN) – The United Auto Workers released a statement Monday saying several workers at Fuyao Glass America have filed a formal complaint with the U.S. OSHA Office in Cincinnati.
The statement says workers are calling for a “wall to wall” investigation into dangerous conditions in the plant including fire hazards, electrocution risks, laceration risks and other hazards.
This complaint comes two weeks after the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration found Fuyao had “committed serious violations” of federal safety and health laws."
THEY SHUT DOWN MONITORS AFTER THE FUKUSHIMA DISASTER, REMEMBER?
THEY SAID IT WAS THE DUTY OF THE FDA TO MONITOR FOODS, MILK, EVERYTHING ELSE, BASICALLY.
SO, WHAT HAS THE FDA DONE?
STOPPED MONITORING ALMOST EVERYTHING FOR RADIATION.
THEN MORE EPA MONITORS SUDDENLY "FAILED" AND THE EPA NEVER REPAIRED THEM, BUT ALL THOSE MONITORS ARE BEING PAID FOR BY AMERICAN TAXPAYERS, THE BROKEN, THE UNPLUGGED, ALL OF THEM ARE IN THAT "FEDERAL BUDGET".
WHEN CONGRESS RECENTLY CONSIDERED A BILL TO STOP LABELING COUNTRY OF ORIGIN FOR FOOD IMPORTS, DID THE FDA RUN UP CAPITOL HILL AND RAISE HELL?
AMERICANS WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO TELL IF FOOD COMES FROM JAPAN, MEXICO, CHINA... CONGRESS ROBS US OF THAT.
Let the negligent party bear the cost of the damages.
Unfortunately, final costs will be borne by the customers, but their reaction will aid in the realization, on the part of both producers and consumers, of the true costs of nuclear mismanagement.
The precedent that this proposal would establish is too dangerous to be accepted."
AS FOR THIS HANFORD THING.... EXPECT NOTHING TO BE DONE, JUST AS NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE FOR OVER 40 YEARS.
Hanford officials hid leak evidence from advisory panel
Source: KING 5....
Date: May 21, 2013
A government-chartered advisory panel was told last September that materials spotted outside the inner wall of a tank holding radioactive waste at the Hanford Site were possibly the result of a “carbonate buildup,” “cross-contamination” or “rainwater leakage.”
On Aug. 13, the results were sent to multiple [Washington River Protection Solutions] officials showing measurable amounts of Cesium-137 and Strontium-90, two highly radioactive elements that are a byproduct of nuclear fission. Trace amounts of Plutonium 239/240 and Americium-241 were also detected.
A reference to the results in a Leak Assessment Report made public on Nov. 7 says the materials were registering 800,000 dpm (disintegrations per minute), a high level of radioactivity that had never been found in that portion of the tank before.
“This was a very deliberate cover up and I will use the word that we were lied to. There’s no two ways about it, we were lied to,” said state Rep. [Gerry] Pollet."GOOD OLD HANFORD, AMERICA'S 'FUKUSHIMA ON STEROIDS'.
THIS RECENT LEAK SENT RADIATION READINGS AS HIGH AS 400% ABOVE "NORMAL BACKGROUND" IN CHICAGO, BUT MAJOR MEDIA FAILED TO LET THOSE PEOPLE KNOW.
OUR LIVES JUST DON'T MATTER TO THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY OR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, DO THEY?
NOT WHEN OUR OWN GOVERNMENT CONSPIRES WITH 'BIG NUKE' AND ALLOWS IT 17 MORE YEARS TO LEAK RADIATION INTO OUR BODIES, OUR SOIL AND DRINKING WATER.
20 May 2016
Washington regulators have been pushing the Energy Department to comply with the agreement but have acknowledged that a delay is inevitable. The state has proposed a start-up for full operations by 2034, a 12-year delay."
ONCE AGAIN, PROFIT OVER LIVES... NOW WE KNOW WHAT VALUE IS PLACED ON AMERICAN LIVES... NONE AT ALL.
RELATED: Hanford worker: 'When you're dead, they have nobody to fight'