Radioactive Waste Flowing Freely into Columbia River Because There’s No Money to Stop It
A member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently informed the public that radioactive waste from the decommissioned Hanford nuclear power plant is ‘flowing freely’ into the Columbia river.
The mighty Columbia river is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of America, flowing down from Canada, winding through eastern Washington state and along the border between Oregon, ultimately moving through downtown Portland and into the Pacific. The Hanford site, located near Kennewick, WA is up river from a million or so people, not to mention the wildlife.
Constructed in the 1940’s as part of the Manhattan Project, the plant was decommissioned after the Cold War, leaving behind some 53 million gallons of high level radioactive waste. Proposed as a Superfund site in 1988, Hanford is an uncontrollable ecological and public health disaster.
As noted in the list of national Superfund sites:
Mass marine animal die-offs have become regular news in recent years, especially along the western coast of the America’s where it is quite common to hear of pods of whales or other animals mysteriously perishing in great numbers.
Most recently along the coast of California, primarily around the San Francisco Bay area, an alarming number of sharks are dying, and officials are at a loss as to why. For the past three months, thousands of dead leopard sharks have been washing up on shores in the bay, and their decomposing bodies may be making the problem worse.
The best guess at the present moment is a fungal infection affecting the brains of these sharks, likely a result of the major rains which hit California earlier this year which greatly affected the salinity of the San Francisco bay, although, some researchers admit they do not fully understand why this is happening.
Similar events were reported in 2011, with some pointing out the likelihood that the animals were affected by more than just fresh water, but by the amount of man-made pollution and contamination which flows into the ocean from inland.
Canals that regulate tide flow may be preventing the sharks, which usually grow about five feet long, from escaping some kind of toxic discharge or other manmade pollution source, said Sean Van Sommeran with the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation in Santa Cruz. [Source]
CBS News has the following report: