Atomic Deserts A Survey of the World's Radioactive No-Go Zones
Part 7: A Deadly Legacy
Fifty-two buildings at Hanford remain contaminated to this day, and 240 square miles are uninhabitable due to the radioactivity that has seeped into the soil and ground water: uranium, cesium, strontium, plutonium and other deadly radio-nuclides. Altogether, more than 204,000 cubic meters of highly radioactive waste remain on site -- two-thirds of the total for the entire US. In one area, discharges of more than 216 million liters of radioactive, liquid waste and cooling water have flowed out of leaky tanks. More than 100,000 spent fuel rods -- 2,300 tons of them -- still sit in leaky basins close to the Columbia River.
The plant is also notorious for the so-called "Green Run" -- the deliberate release of a highly radioactive cloud from the T-plant, the world's largest plutonium factory at the time. The radiation was almost 1,000 times worse than that released during the 1979 meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, the worst nuclear accident in American history. Fallout from the experiment drifted all the way to California. People wondered why they suddenly got sick. Studies would eventually show that some babies at Hanford were radiated twice as much as the children of Chernobyl.
- Part 1: A Survey of the World's Radioactive No-Go Zones
- Part 2: A New Age Dawns
- Part 3: 'Now I Am Become Death'
- Part 4: Uninhabitable to This Day
- Part 5: The Radioactive Dilemma
- Part 6: Unrelenting Bombardment
- Part 7: A Deadly Legacy
- Part 8: A Nuclear No Man's Land
- Part 9: Unfathomable Destruction
- Part 10: Long-Term Effects
- Part 11: The Irradiated Buddha
- Part 12: Underground Time Bomb
- Part 13: The First Big Accident
- Part 14: The Desert Rats
- Part 15: An Ill-Advised Test
- Part 16: Mushroom Clouds in the South Pacific
- Part 17: Dangerous Negligence
- Part 18: Hydrogen Drama in Spain
- Part 19: Harrisburg Horror
- Part 20: The Unknown Catastrophe