Hanford – “the most toxic place in America,” “an underground Chernobyl waiting to happen,” is in the news again this month after a project to dismantle a plutonium-contaminated plant was delayed. The reasons for the delays include inclement weather and “improvements to better protect workers,” one Tri-City Herald article read.
A brief history of Hanford reveals decades of potential employee exposure hazards, haphazard employee protection measures, and the mandated burying of many tons of toxic waste on its premises.
This particular demolition project had been ongoing for close to two decades.
Hanford recently discovered a collapsed tunnel earlier this year that could have caused a release of airborne contaminants. 3,000 workers were released for the day hours after the incident was discovered and nonessential workers were told to stay home while crews made sure there was no indication of a radiation release.
This story highlights the tentative nature of securely dismantling now contaminated former facilities that handled radioactive and otherwise toxic substances. It is a struggle facing our nation’s atomic plants and workers. These substances must be handled with extreme care considering the devastating health effects that can result, not just limited to cancers but also respiratory, neurological, kidney-related and other illnesses.
Full article here.