Trump’s presidency has had, down pat, more crises than any other administration in history. But of all the threats he’s faced so far – from Kim Jong-un to cartels and drug smugglers – none caused as much of a panic as this one did yesterday.
This one, in fact, caused an entire government building to be evacuated. And the reason why is just as dangerous as anything North Korea has been threatening – nuclear waste.
Lots of it, in fact. Right under the building, and ready to leak at any time.
The Daily Caller reports:
A tunnel containing radioactive waste collapsed at the Department of Energy’s Hanford nuclear site in Washington state Tuesday morning, forcing personnel to evacuate.
Hundreds of workers were instructed to “take cover” after the collapse, and others were evacuated. Employees were told to “secure ventilation” in their buildings and “refrain from eating or drinking,” according to a local television station.
A local reporter tweeted that the sites management had called the incident “a crisis.”
We probably need some background here.
The Hanford site began operating in 1943 to produce plutonium for the Manhattan Project. The site’s nine reactors generated 56 million gallons of radioactive waste before being shut down in 1987. A November 2016 NBC News segment called the facility “the most toxic place in America.”
That’s putting it mildly. Hanford made most of the early material for the development of the nuclear bomb. It made the nuclear material that went into the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It’s got hundreds of millions of gallons of nuclear waste stored in containers beneath it. And some of those containers leak.
And sometimes, whole tunnels of those containers collapse, and threaten to crush those very containers.
The workers are currently all safe and accounted for. But that’s hardly the end of this story – these kinds of accidents happen at Hanford all the time.
And fixing the problems that lead to these accidents? Way more difficult than you would think.
Numerous design and construction flaws required expensive and lengthy corrections, causing repeated increases in budget and time frames [to fix Hanford’s leaks].
The delays could result in a Fukushima-like release of radiation. Such an explosion could spread radioactive material across Washington state and into Oregon, Idaho, and possibly even Utah and Canada.
Four states, and two countries…that’s a big nuclear disaster.
And it’s ticking away, right under our nose.
Source: Daily Caller