NEW CLEAR VISION TUNNEL VISION
MONOLOGUE WRITTEN CLYDE LEWIS
When undertaking stories of nuclear negligence and struggles with clean up and containment, there are many people with various opinions about what poses a danger and what doesn’t. All I know is that radiation is the killer, mutant maker, and genetic destroyer which likes a phantom cannot be seen but the pit in your gut tells you that you know that at any time you can be exposed to high doses of it.
Most of the time, your exposures come from an X-ray, or your travels in a plane. Low doses of radiation are found in bananas; background radiation is a fact of life.
It is widely accepted during discussions of nuclear energy and its safety that there is a perception gap between the reality of the potential problems with using it , and what the Nuclear lobby and media outlets, both reputable and not so reputable, have claimed is harmless or negligible.
I can only remember past history lessons and pictures of the first tests at Trinity and elsewhere in the 1940’s. Those who attended the first tests sat ringside like they were at a rock concert. They all wore shades because in the decay of the mushroom cloud, the scientists saw a bright future in warfare and the boiling of water. When bombs were detonated they hollered and clapped and after it was over they didn’t say much. J. Robert Oppenheimer gave his, “I have become death” speech and held back the tears as he knew that what he had done had the potential to kill millions of people in a single night.
Now, we are living with the threat of the nuclear strike and with nuclear power plants in our back yards, we never expect the worst to happen until it does. Even when we think the danger is over, several other mini-disasters seem to replicate exponentially.
One of the most toxic places on the planet is close to my backyard and that is the Hanford Nuclear site in Washington State. Today, there was an accident at the site where hundreds of employees were forced to evacuate the facility.
Following the incident a manager sent a message to workers telling them to “secure ventilation in your building” and to “refrain from eating or drinking.” The US Department of Energy activated its Emergency Operations Center this morning following the collapse. Some workers were reportedly told to evacuate while others were told to shelter-in-place as officials investigated the severity of the situation.
Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement, that the White House was informed about the incident and that The Department of Energy stated that a tunnel was breached that was used to bury radioactive waste from the production of plutonium at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation,
Inslee also said “This is a serious situation, and ensuring the safety of the workers and the community is the top priority,” “Our understanding is that the site went into immediate lock down, in which workers were told to seek shelter, and all access to the area has been closed.”
A spokesperson for the Hanford site said during a live broadcast that the tunnel collapse was discovered by workers on patrol in the area.
Crews noticed that a portion of that tunnel had fallen.
The roof had caved in about a 20 foot section of that tunnel. The tunnel reportedly contained highly-contaminated materials including nuclear waste trains that are used to transport radioactive fuel rods.
The spokes people kept emphasizing to the press that there was absolutely nothing to worry about.
A spokesperson said that there was no evidence to suggest that radioactive materials had been released and that all of the workers in the area were accounted for. However, there is a concern about more soil contamination at the cleanup site.
More recently, however, a private contractor hired by the Department of Energy is working on a $110 billion project to clean up 56 million gallons of chemical and nuclear waste stored in as many as 177 underground tanks there.
Before today’s collapse, those tanks were reportedly leaking toxic and radioactive vapors and chemicals that have been linked to cancer, brain damage, and lung damage. There were at least 61 workers exposed to those deadly vapors last year. Experts have called the location “the most toxic place in America” and “an underground Chernobyl waiting to happen.”
Later this morning, the alert was expanded to a Site Area Emergency. A Site Area Emergency is declared when the event is affecting or could potentially affect personnel beyond the facility boundary.
Private pilots in the area were told to avoid flying over Hanford. The Hanford Patrol is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to put a formal air restriction in place until the FAA can confirm there is no danger.
Several counties adjacent to the Hanford Site – Yakima, Walla Walla, Grant and Adams counties, participated in a mid-morning conference call with the State of Washington Emergency Operations Center.
Now as the general public was told there were no dangers discussions were had about the possibility of radiation showing up in dairy milk.
The wind direction was also being monitored to see if the winds are blowing away from Yakima County. If there should be a release of contamination carried beyond the boundaries of the Hanford site, it would mean that produce and dairy would not be allowed in or out of the affected area.
However, I will stress again, the authorities are saying that no produce or milk contamination has been found and according to authorities there is really no need to be alarmed at this time.
Once again we get the same old “nothing to see here” to calm all fears about possible radiation dangers.
Believe it or not The Hanford Nuclear site poses more of a danger to the United States than Fukushima.
While radiation from the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns is reaching the West Coast, carried across the ocean from Japan, the radiation from Hanford is already there, has been there for 70 years, and is in serious risk of catastrophe that could dwarf the effects of Fukushima even on Japan.
There is a dangerous radiological threat to the West Coast of the United States that puts the health of millions of Americans at risk. It includes dangers to public health, dangers to the food supply, and dangers to future generations from long-lived radionuclides, including some of the most toxic material in the world.
Hanford, on the Columbia River in Eastern Washington State, is the site where the United States produced the majority of its plutonium for nuclear weapons during the Cold War. These tens of thousands of American nuclear weapons were built as an end product of the high levels of plutonium production at Hanford. The first three nuclear reactors on Earth were built at Hanford, with a total of nine nuclear power plants being built there eventually. Nuclear power plants operated for ten years in this world before they were ever used to generate electricity. Electricity is a secondary purpose for nuclear power plants; they were designed and built as plutonium manufacturing plants.
Hanford was the first of these plutonium production sites. The two worst radiological disasters (besides nuclear weapon detonations) in the first four decades of the Atomic Age were accidents at the plutonium production sites of the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, both in 1957. Military plutonium production sites remain among the most contaminated sites on Earth. During the period of operation more than 67 metric tons of plutonium were manufactured at Hanford. Hanford is home to 60% (by volume) of all of the high level radioactive waste stored in the United States. Nearly 80% of the Department of Energy’s inventory of spent nuclear fuel rods are stored just 400 yards away from the Columbia River.
In December 1949, the United States deliberately released an immense amount of radiation into populated areas at the Hanford Site during the notorious Green Run. It was the largest intentional release of radiation conducted by the U.S. government.
While nuclear testing in Nevada exposed many people to significant amounts of radiation, this was a byproduct of the desire to test weapons. In the Green Run the intention was specifically to release the radiation into the Hanford area.
The Green Run was conducted in reaction to the test of the first Soviet nuclear weapon in Kazakhstan several months earlier. The first indications that the Soviets had successfully tested a nuclear weapon came when sensors at Hanford picked up the radiation several days later. It was decided to release radiation “similar” to that of the Soviet test to develop and hone detection equipment and better analysis of the Soviet program.
Back in 1950’s and 1960’s Americans were forced into getting used to nuclear bomb tests because of an arms race that was out of control. Both the Soviet Union and the United states had areas where nuclear tests were carried out routinely. The ‘nuclear genie’ was let out of the bottle and there are still victims today that are falling victim to what can be called the ‘nuclear harvest’.
There does not need to be a mushroom cloud present in order to know of the major threats that exist in contaminated areas around the world.
While we all are fearing the possibility that some rouge nation may use the bomb to annihilate our country, it is the slow and silent death that comes from continuous exposure to radioactive waste and nuclear disasters like what happened at Chernobyl, the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Facility in Japan.
Last weekend, there was a couple of news items that slipped past the mainstream narrative about the Fukushima plant that I believe need to be reported.
A wildfire broke out in the highly radioactive “no-go zone” near Fukushima nuclear power plant over the weekend, reviving concerns over potential airborne radiation.
Japanese newspaper The Mainichi reports that lightning was likely to blame for sparking the fire Saturday on Mount Juman in Namie, which lies in the Fukushima Prefecture and was one of the areas evacuated following the 2011 meltdown. The area continues to be barred from entry as it is designated a “difficult-to-return zone” due to continually high radiation levels.
The fires of course are releasing contaminated ash into the air that spreads the radiation in the trees. It sends up a dangerous radioactive cloud.
Two years ago, a forest fire broke out in the woods near Ukraine’s disused Chernobyl nuclear plant, the site of a meltdown in 1986.
The meltdown at Chernobyl sent a plume of radiation across Europe. It was so bad that radiation was found in the milk and vegetables in the United Kingdom.
In Japan, local officials were forced to call in the military, the Ground Self-Defense Force, to help battle the blaze, which continued to burn on Monday.
At least 10 hectares of forest have burned so far.
An official with the Ministry of the Environment said Monday that there has been “no major changes to radiation levels” in the region, according to the newspaper, but added that they will “continue to closely watch changes in radiation doses in the surrounding areas.”
The fire near Chernobyl sent out a toxic cloud—and there is no reason to believe that the fire near the Fukushima plant won’t either.
In a blog post last year, Anton Beneslavsky, a member of the Russian Greenpeace firefighting group who has been deployed to fight blazes in nuclear Chernobyl, outlined the specific dangers of wildfires in contaminated areas.
“During a fire, radionuclides like caesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium rise into the air and travel with the wind,” Beneslavsky wrote. “This is a health concern because when these unstable atoms are inhaled, people become internally exposed to radiation.”
Contaminated forests such as those outside fallout sites like Fukushima and Chernobyl “are ticking time bombs,” scientist and former regional government official Ludmila Komogortseva told Beneslavsky. “Woods and peat accumulate radiation,” she explained “and every moment, every grass burning, every dropped cigarette or camp fire can spark a new disaster.”
Three days ago a new study revealed that everyone on earth was exposed to the radiation that was released when the Fukushima plant melted down in 2011.
A study from the Norwegian Institute for Air Research has revealed the true extent of the global impact of the disaster.
Lead author Nikolaos Evangeliou told New Scientist magazine that everyone on Earth got the equivalent radiation of one X-ray or a thousand bananas. While he admits that the effects are minor, he merely did the study to underline the scale of the Fukushima disaster.
He did it to show that the earth is being affected daily by nuclear accidents and disasters like Hanford. Most people got 0.1 millisievert of extra radiation from the Fukushima disaster, though the figure was five times higher in Japan.
In comparison, the average of annual dose from background radiation for people in the UK is around 2.7 millisieverts a year. But the effect on wildlife is worst – radiation has already been linked to bird population decline near Fukushima.
Radiation and nuclear disasters pose a much greater threat to the planet than climate change.
Meanwhile, Al Gore wants to save the world from itself through an elimination of its fossil-fuel-based energy system.
During the final week of April, his newly created Energy Transitions Commission released a document setting forth a fool’s-errand pathway to “decarbonize” the world’s energy system.
He stated recently that his new core policy recommendation is a massive, punishing carbon tax. Gore would start the tax at $50 per ton, which would increase to $100 per ton over time, essentially destroying the market for continued robust development of the world’s fossil-fuel base.
He recommends a carbon tax to be used to pay for clean energies like wind, solar and nuclear. The all-in estimated cost to re-engineer humanity is only a mere $15 trillion — enough money to give every man, woman, and child in the United States more than $46,000.
And to think that climate change cultists see this as a humanitarian effort to save ourselves.
Al Gore has been demonizing fossil fuels and attempting to marginalize all those involved in the traditional energy sector since 1988, the year the climate change movement was rolled out in Washington, D.C., which happened to correspond with a nationwide heat wave and with Yellowstone in flames. Ever since, Gore’s pathway to political power and personal riches has been a successful one, to be sure, but his multi-trillion-dollar effort today is his most sophisticated effort to date. Unfortunately for him, it will also fail, because what he’s selling in his “new” proposal is bad for the people being asked to embrace it.
Over the years, Gore has emerged in many contexts in his effort to eradicate carbon-dioxide emissions, a benign gas required for all life to thrive on Earth—plant, animal, and human alike. It has never mattered to Gore that ordinary people everywhere have been hurt and will continue to be hurt by his continual efforts to make fossil-fuel energy expensive and that the poorest among us are harmed the most by the energy policies he supports.
The anti-humanity proposals in Gore’s latest initiative have as one of their chief goals the elimination of fossil fuels, full stop. Gore does allow for greater use of natural gas into the 2030s, but he eliminates coal right away. He also allows for oil use to grow into the mid-2020s, but “decarbonize” means just that; his plan inevitably ends with a phase-out of fossil-fuel use.
Fortunately for us all, and make no mistake about it, the American people understand this—the fossil fuel-free future Gore imagines is not supported by observation-based science, and it is contradicted by all the evidence we have gained from recorded human history.
Gore also has stated that he sees a future where nuclear power may play a smaller but important role in the clean energy future. Gore has stated “There is still a distinct possibility that the research and development of a new generation of smaller and hopefully safer reactors may yet play a significant role in the world’s energy future. We should know by 2030.”
I find it suspicious that everything dealing with the climate change re-engineering of society all revolves around the year 2030.
So, new nuclear reactor designs are 13 years away from coming about. Certainly, not a good situation.
However, if you complain about it, you are anti-science and a climate change denier.