This morning I picked up an old copy of National Geographic at a friends' house. It triggered some real panic.
Though I have always known that nuclear waste is being stored somewhere, I do not think I realized the magnitude of the nuclear waste sites throughout the United States.
The article is older, and it was describing the breakdown of Rocky Flats, and other nuclear waste/handling plants. The scary thing is (trust me, only one of many), the statement "Once we are done, you will see nothing but grass.". Hmmmm...so a few years later, when Denver and Boulder become more populated, that prime space between the two may be used for housing developement? You know, the grassy meadow that once housed one of the nations largest nuclear handling plant?
Potatoes, Beer, and Trout
"The Snake River aquifer is huge—about 10,000 square miles (25,000 square kilometers)—and provides both drinking water and irrigation water to several hundred thousand people.
Water for agriculture is critical to the state. Idaho produces 30 percent of the potatoes grown in the United States and 25 percent of the barley used by the nation's beer breweries.
The aquifer also supports the state's trout farming industry, which supplies 75 percent of all commercial rainbow trout in the United States. "
At issue are 10 to 12 acres (4 to 5 hectares) of radioactive nuclear waste buried in shallow pits and trenches at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), the second largest nuclear facility in the United States.
The federal government began burying the plutonium-contaminated waste in Idaho beginning in the 1950s and continued doing so until 1970.
The state wants the federal government to come dig it out and move it somewhere else. DOE is thinking about leaving it where it is.
"Plutonium is dangerously radioactive, and stays that way for 240,000 years," said Margaret Stewart, central Idaho coordinator for the Snake River Alliance, a group leading the campaign. "And there's around 2,300 pounds of plutonium buried in those fields."
"The radioactive waste is buried on ground that sits atop the Snake River aquifer. Activists and the state are concerned that the plutonium will leach into the aquifer.
The concern is not unfounded. In 1965, the federal government estimated that it would take 80,000 years before contamination from the burial ground would reach the aquifer. In 1995, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences revised the estimate downward to 30 years. " Read more....
On the road again.....
If you are thinking "hey, I live far away from any of those sites!", check again. There are sites everywhere, and they are leaching. Not only that, the government is transporting this waste over our highways. Though this particular map is outdated, it will give you a pretty shocking visual.
Just go into NG and search "nuclear waste"...if you dare. Prepare to be shocked.