Radioactive Waste Is Leaking From Washington's Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Tyler Durden's picture

And now for a quick lesson in government spending: in the 1940s the federal government created the now mostly decommissioned Washington's Hanford Nuclear Reservation as part of the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. During the Cold War, the project was expanded to include nine nuclear reactors and five large plutonium processing complexes, which produced plutonium for most of the 60,000 weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Sadly, many of the early safety procedures and waste disposal practices were inadequate, and government documents have since confirmed that Hanford's operations released significant amounts of radioactive materials into the air and the Columbia River.

The weapons production reactors were decommissioned at the end of the Cold War, but the decades of manufacturing left behind 53 million US gallons of high-level radioactive waste, an additional 25 million cubic feet of solid radioactive waste, 200 square miles of contaminated groundwater beneath the site and occasional discoveries of undocumented contaminations that slow the pace and raise the cost of cleanup. The Hanford site represents two-thirds of the nation's high-level radioactive waste by volume. Today, Hanford is the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States and is the focus of the nation's largest environmental cleanup. The government spends $2 billion each year on Hanford cleanup — one-third of its entire budget for nuclear cleanup nationally. The cleanup is expected to last decades. It turns out that as Krugman would say, the government was not spending nearly enough, and moments ago Governor Jay Inslee said that six underground radioactive waste tanks at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site are leaking.

From AP:

Inslee made the announcement after meeting with federal officials in Washington, D.C. Last week it was revealed that one of the 177 tanks at south-central Washington's Hanford Nuclear Reservation was leaking liquids. Inslee called the latest news "disturbing."


The tanks, which already are long past their intended 20-year life span, hold millions of gallons of a highly radioactive stew left from decades of plutonium production for nuclear weapons.


The U.S. Department of Energy said earlier that liquid levels were decreasing in one of the tanks at the site. Monitoring wells near the tank have not detected higher radiation levels.

And some more lessons on government spending:

Central to cleanup is the construction of a plant to convert millions of gallons of waste into glasslike logs for safe, secure storage. The $12.3 billion plant is billions of dollars over budget and behind schedule.

See: if only the plant was hundreds of billions, or better yet, trillions of dollars over budget, funded entirely by the Fed's monetization of debt issuance of course, all would be well. Sure enough:

Inslee and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber have championed building additional tanks to ensure safe storage of the waste until the plant is completed. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said earlier this week that he shares their concerns about the integrity of the tanks, but that he wants more scientific information to determine it's the correct way to spend scarce money.

What is this "scarce money" he is talking about? Does he not know that today total US debt just hit a ridiculous all time high $16,608,318,357,376.54, which is $20 billion more than yesterday, and at this point is an absolutely meaningless number? It's not like anyone holds any hope that the US will repay this debt ever.

Then again, if the Columbia river ends up spawning some cool-looking mutants, and if the Canadians start turning violent over concerns that the US is exporting them a little more radiation than they bargained for, then the resulting civil/Canadian war once the US can no longer funds its trillion+ deficits will be all the more colorful and vibrant.

So let radiation leak: in fact print more money to buy more Made in Fukushima plutonium and bury it under the complex. After all - as with every thought experiment, such as that of the US solvency when debt is now 104% of GDP, it must be taken to its absurd limit to be fully appreciated by all those who fought tooth and nail against our original proposal from a year ago to build a death star. Because the only thing better than a nearly $1 quintillion death star is two nearly $1 quintillion death stars.

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Dr. Kenneth Noisewater's picture

They need to build onsite LFTRs to burn all that shit and generate power.

knukles's picture

The Fallacy of the Melting Window.

krispkritter's picture

Our very own 'Nuke-o-shima', courtesy of Uncle Sam.  How leaves me with a glowing appreciation of government in general.

Race Car Driver's picture

It's incredible what governments do to this planet ... like we have somewhere else to go.

WayBehind's picture

Yes we do have another place to go. We can all go to hell!

Spirit Of Truth's picture

The meteor that just struck the Chelyabinsk region of Russia, the most radiation contaminated place on the planet, was a warning from God.  The Wormwood connection to radioactive contamination ("Chernobyl" means "Wormwood") and the key prophecy in Revelation 8 is now complete:


Fukushima Sam's picture

I'm sure everything is just fine over at Hanford. 

I'm sure there is no immediate danger.

JohnnyBriefcase's picture

I love the usage of "immediate".


So soothing until you think about it. Fortunately most don't.


Mmmm clean energy.

malikai's picture

Most of that liquid waste is reprocessing fluid from the PUREX process which is a combination of fission products, actinides, and of course the solvent nitric acid. And naturally, nitric acid is/has been eating away at the tanks (seals, fittings, etc) since it was first poured in.

In short, stay away from Hanford, stay upstream by many miles on the Columbia. 

Harlequin001's picture

I hear you can get some real good bargains on real estate, and that they come with some real cheap mortgages...

GetZeeGold's picture



Maybe I'll take a look, I tried to buy some off shore Gulf of Mexico drilling rights.....but that crap is not for sell at any proce.

The Second Rule's picture

I'll have the penne pasta with roast three-eyed trout please.

Dane Bramage's picture

One leaking?  I think it's six as of today  ~>

I wonder how a nice little quake would affect Hanford.  :-/

mharry's picture

I'm way upstream in Spokane. Maybe those downstream, especially the coast, will just melt away. Once you cross the mountains there's no use for them anyway. 

SomebodySpecial's picture

Marginally Hairy...

You may be up stream...but aren't you downwind?

Those mountains around Spokane are starting to glo at night.'s just the moon reflecting off the snow!

RafterManFMJ's picture

The nuclear waste problem can be solved by leaving it in a canister in a locked car in Detoilet or ShitCongo overnight. Presto! In the morning, it is gone.

petolo's picture

Absolutely no threat to human health. Why don,t Obonzo and Tiger do a leisurely 9 holes there to show the MSM everything is under control, under control, under control...............

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

"Man with feet on the ground should not have head in the clouds".  -Russian proverb.  Actually I just made it up. 

Your translation is bad, hence GIGO.  "Garbich In, Garbich Out", as Lt. Chekhov would say.  For a better translation see Alpha Wolf's blog comment on  "Chernobyl" literally means "black grass" or "black stalks".


Bastiat's picture

Fortunately, Fukushima has demonstrated that nuclear leaks are not media worthy and therefore aren't important. 

The Heart's picture

"Fukushima has demonstrated that nuclear leaks are not media worthy and therefore aren't important."

If the public in the state of Washington actually had a clue about how bad this really is, most would leave immediately.

After fukushima blew up, and not knowing much about radiation at all, the quest to learn about what was happening and it's effects on this country came to the forefront of priorities. What was learned and shockingly discovered is that Hanford is one of the worst leaking radioactive places in the country, besides the Las Vegas/utah areas of course. The fallout in Richland, which is just downhill from Hanford, was being recorded on the EPA web site for a few months after fukushima. They took it down because the chart revealed very high radioactive leakages BEFORE the earthquake in japan happened. After being exposed in this huge COVER-UP, they had to stop this information from being published because people were actually seeing that the amounts of radioactive sites were leaking all over the country before fukushima blew up.

Sadly, this harmful fallout has historically been flowing everywhere east of Hanford into most of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North, and South Dakotas. Those states are all very highly contaminated. One could learn just how bad it is by studying the cancer and leukemia deaths in all the regions east, north, west, and south of Hanford. These charts above that were copied for posterity purposes reveal just how bad it gets, and the huge spikes just before fukushima blew up. They clearly show pre-fukushima radiation that was later joined by the new contamination from the reactors melting down in japan. These EPA stations were all added to the long list of inactiveated, or turned off stations after people were actually seeing the real measurements of radioactive fallout hitting the USA before, and after fukushima. They have been hiding this factual information ever since, because they know the USA is toast anyways. This action is a direct part of the overall population reduction agenda to kill off most of the life on the planet. Many will die of radiation poisoning and not even know it.

Pure Evil's picture

Just think, if you decrease the size of the death star by one half the size of the original, you can then build four death stars for the price of the original two.

With that, you have the perception of more bang for the buck.

Not like the sheeple will know the difference.

Matt's picture

If you are worried about radiation, long range space travel and living on Mars may not be for you.

A Nanny Moose's picture

I hear the moons of Uranus are nice this time of the millenium.

WayBehind's picture

Common man! Its all fine at Fukushima, just ask the Japanese government. And it's all fine here too. No big deal, just some radiation. 

spastic_colon's picture

i smell an economy saving taxpayer funded bailout coming soon to a nuke site near you!

Lore's picture



Some say the Gulf is another dumping ground for old toxic munitions. Parts of the Middle East are irradiated with DU.

Symptomatically, the logic of the Greenshirts is hard to deny sometimes. "We" are a scourge on the planet.

Then again, "WE didn't leak that."

Blame Al Qaeda.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

The problem is that the "Greenshirts" are easily led to waste their time on non-issues such as "climate change".  And some of the "Greenshirts" are, in fact, "counter insurgents" funded by the enemy.

The Second Rule's picture

Long backhoes and radiation suits.

CaptainObvious's picture

All of Washington is glowing.  Especially the pot smokers whose blunt was irrigated with water from the Columbia River.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

I don't know if the Columbia salmon are now getting bigger or the supply of fish-head soup has doubled, but if you want to monitor the rad levels in your neck of the woods -- or someone else's in the US, go to:  The site also has some interesting links to Geiger gear.

homme's picture

+1 and thanks for the link but this is mo' bettah:


Never One Roach's picture

What does this mean for Pacific salmon?

dirtbagger's picture

Supervised some drilling and soil testing work in the mid 70's at Hanford.  The first thing they give you when you sign in at the gate is an ID with a radiation badge.  If they find you without a badge you can be sent to the decontamination tank.   This stuff has been leaking since the 50's. Much of the material stored is highly radioactive, not the low level stuff stored at most nuke plants.   The real shame is that the plant is adjacent to the Columbia River and there has been a constant danger of water containation.  Hanford claims that the radiation has never reached the river, but few in that part of the country believe this. 

About 125 miles downstream, the Columbia River runs adjacent to Portland OR and Vancouver WA.   Portland is fortunate as it gets its drinking water from the pristine Bull Run watershed on the east side of Mt Hood far from the Columbia River water table.  Vancouver is less fortunate as it relies on groundwater for its populace.  In theory the groundwater is charged from rivers feeding the Columbia, and would supposedly be somewhat immune to water contamination from the Columbia River.   

Stoploss's picture

What comes after nintillion?  Bazillion?

Paul, will a bazillion do it??

NoDebt's picture

Dunno.  We'll all find out soon enough, though.

Radioactivity and Inflation are similar things.  You can't point at them because you can't see or touch them.  Just one day you wake up and say "what the fuck has happened to me??"

A Nanny Moose's picture

"Just one day you wake up and say "what the fuck has happened to me??"

One day? I ask this every day. I must be doing it wrong.

S5936's picture

Nope, we need a GAZILLION $$$$

Curiously_Crazy's picture

haha  I actually came across the following by mistake yesterday while looking for those cool (well to some) maths tricks you can do with the number 11. Anyway:


million 106 billion 10 9 trillion 1012 quadrillion 10 15 quintillion 1018 sextillion 1021 septillion 1024 octillion 1027 nonillion 1030 decillion 1033 undecillion 1036 duodecillion 1039 tredecillion 1042 quatuordecillion 1045 quindecillion 1048 sexdecillion 1048 septendecillion 1054 octodecillion 1057 novemdecillion 1060 vigintillion 1063 googol 0100 googolplex 10googol = 1010100
Curiously_Crazy's picture

I like undecillion myself. Reminds me of undecided; so that may be the tipping point.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Pfff!  It's Virgintillion 1E69 all the way to the Alpha Kher system for me!  Just ask the crew.  ;-)

illyia's picture

I feel so much better. We have only just started!

zorba THE GREEK's picture

This whole problem of radio-active waste exposure can be solved very easily by the department of

public safety. All they need do is to raise the official level of safe radiation exposure by 10,000X.

Now was that so difficult. 

Salah's picture

I worked at Hanford, and its culture is one of the most hostile, unionized, work-delaying operations of the US Government.  This mess would have been cleaned up 15-20 years ago, if not for deliberate delaying tactics of unions (OCAW) and consulting environmentalists (thick as fleas at PNNL), milking this job-site for all its worth.

Talk about a "cult of safety"...these people have raised 'safety' to really mean "lifetime job security".  That's the real story of Hanford.

jballz's picture

Yeah it's the unions.

Some of you people are just in a perma ent acid trip.

One thing we can all agree on, the military industrial complex (of which Hanford is the crown fucking jewel) would be smooth running lean mean model of efficiency if it were not for those damn unions.

What a sick fuckinh joke, and your working there makes you a mic assclown so look in the godam mirror. You are the shit of which you raise a stink.

As for Hanford cleanup scam see bechtel, crony contracts they walked away from with massive profits. Not to the numbfucks in the hard hats.