Hanford, in Washington state, has been processing plutonium for decades. The radioactive waste is pumped into gigantic, double-walled tanks with a capacity of a million gallons each, which, we are told, prevents the deadly stuff from leaking into the Columbia River drainage basin. It’ll just get caught by the outer wall of the tank! No worries!
“This is catastrophic. This is probably the biggest event to ever happen in tank farm history. The double shell tanks were supposed to be the saviors of all saviors (to hold waste safely from people and the environment),” said former Hanford worker Mike Geffre.
Geffre is the worker who first discovered that the tank, known as AY-102, was failing in 2011. In a 2013 series, “Hanford’s Dirty Secrets,” the KING 5 Investigators exposed that the government contractor in charge of the tanks, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), ignored Geffre’s findings for nearly a year. The company finally admitted the problem in 2012.
What with the mega-earthquake waiting to destroy the region, and the volcanoes primed to bury Seattle in ash and lava, and the giant pools of deadly plutonium on the Eastern side of the state, it’s a wonder that I managed to survive growing up there.
Washington state is on my short list of places to someday retire to (if I should live that long), but maybe I ought to consider changing it up to places that are safer. Like Australia. They’re always bragging about their lethal wildlife, but back home, we are threatened with the grand forces of geology and nuclear physics.