On the shore of Washington state’s Columbia River, six radioactive containment ponds are leaking in Hanford, the largest nuclear superfund site in the United States.
“53 million US gallons (200,000 m3) of high-level radioactive waste, an additional 25 million cubic feet (710,000 m3) of solid radioactive waste, 200 square miles (520 km2) of contaminated groundwater beneath the site and occasional discoveries of undocumented contaminations
According to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee there are, “no immediate health risks from leaking nuclear waste.” The half-life of two isotopes of weapons grade Plutonium are 14.4 and 24,000 years there is plenty of risk and reason to be concerned. With all respect to the Governor, “are you kidding me/us?” Or is it just that since nothing can be done to safely dispose of these man-made isotopes, the sound bite is to assume an existential position and simply not worry as nothing can be done to put the genie back in the bottle?
What is to happen with San Onofre, an antiquated nuclear facility, sitting on a fault line, on the Pacific coast, mid-way between Los Angeles and San Diego? Will the eventual leaking of nuclear waste from their holding tanks also not become, “cause for immediate concern?” And speaking of “holding tanks” with the half-life of Plutonium being what it is, how long are these tanks supposed to remain in place and to what end?
Not to attempt to assign responsibility to the Public Utility Commission or the multi-national energy corporation Sempra Energy, but nuclear power would simply not exist if it were not for the federal subsidies which it has historically received, as well as the shift of construction costs and operating risks from investors to taxpayers and ratepayers, burdening them with an array of risks including cost overruns, defaults to accidents, and nuclear waste management.