Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Hanford Site

October 23rd, 2022 - by CounterPunch & Karl Grossman / Enviro Close-Up

Atomic Days:
The Untold Story of the Hanford Nuclear Site


(October 21, 2022) — Once home to the United States’ largest plutonium production site, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state is laced with 56 million gallons of radioactive waste. The threat of an explosive accident at Hanford is all too real — an event that could be more catastrophic than Chernobyl.

The EPA designated Hanford the most toxic place in America; it is also the most expensive environmental clean-up job the world has ever seen, with a $677 billion price tag that keeps growing. Huge underground tanks, well past their life expectancy and full of boiling radioactive gunk, are leaking, infecting groundwater supplies and threatening the Columbia River.

Whistleblowers, worried that the worst is ahead, are now speaking out, begging to be heard and hoping their pleas help bring attention to the dire situation at Hanford. Aside from a few feisty community groups and a handful of Indigenous activists, there is very little public scrutiny of the clean-up process, which is managed by the Department of Energy and carried out by contractors with shoddy track records, like Bechtel.

In the context of renewed support for atomic power as a means of combating climate change, Atomic Days provides a much-needed refutation of the myths of nuclear technology — from weapons to electricity — and shines a spotlight on the ravages of Hanford and its threat to communities, workers and the global environment.

“Atomic Days” is set to air nationally on October 22, syndicated by Free Speech TV on 200 cable TV systems in 40 states, satellite TV networks, Dish and DirecTV and on Internet platforms.

Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Hanford Site

Karl Grossman / Enviro Close-Up #670  

(October 21, 2022) — Joshua Frank has written a powerful, extraordinary, must-read book, “Atomic Days, The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America.” In it, he exposes how the Hanford Site, a nuclear production complex set up along the Columbia River in the State of Washington by the Manhattan Project
• “has produced nearly all the radioactive fuel used in the nuclear arsenal of the United States,”
• is “laced with huge amounts of radioactive gunk” and
• “is a ticking time bomb that could erupt at any given moment, creating a nuclear Chernobyl-like explosion, resulting in a singular tragedy that would be unlike anything the United States has ever experienced.”

The cost of cleaning up Hanford “keep escalating” with the US Department of Energy currently estimating “the job could run between $316 billion and $662 billion.

Today, $2.6 billion are being spent annually.” Frank declares: “If the US public were made aware of the risks Hanford radioactive waste posed, we would surely question the validity of resurrecting the noxious nuclear power industry which is now being heralded as a key weapon… in the fight against climate change.”

Frank, managing editor of the investigative website CounterPunch, is “hopeful that with a bit of knowledge about what is really going on at Hanford — which involves a true reckoning with its dreadful past” — a movement can arise “to demand transparency, accountability, and radical change.

The matter is vitally important to the future of the planet, to the region’s Indigenous population — and to every US citizen who is paying for it — because its radioactive threat is not only immediate: it’s long-lasting and of atomic proportions.”

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.