Seven nuclear disasters: who’s next?

Is Nuclear Experimentation Fascism?  OpEdNews Op Eds 1/22/2014By  (about the author)

“……..HANFORD, USA, 1943 — 1987

As an early “flagship’ nuclear experiment, many of the safety procedures and waste disposal practices employed at the Hanford site were completely inadequate. Although most of the reactors were shut down between 1964 and 1971, government documents have since confirmed that operations at the Hanford site released significant amounts of radioactive materials into the air and the Columbia River, which still threatens the health of residents and ecosystems today. Hanford is currently the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States, representing two-thirds of the nation’s high-level radioactive waste by volume. .


The United States military undertook nuclear weapons tests at Bikini Atoll in mid-1946. At the request of the US military, Bikini’s 146 native residents agreed to temporarily evacuate the island so the United States government could begin testing atomic bombs for “the good of mankind and to end all world wars.” After “confused and sorrowful deliberation”, the Bikinians agreed to the relocation request, announcing “we will go believing that everything is in the hands of God.”

Most residents were moved by the military to Rongerik Atoll, 125 miles away. Only one-sixth the size of Bikini Atoll, no one lived on Rongerik because it had an inadequate water and food supply, however the United States Navy left the natives there with only a few weeks of food and water. Predictably, this soon proved to be insufficient and the Bikinians were left starving on Rongerik. (Read more:

As a series of large thermonuclear tests continued at Bikini Atoll into the 1950″s, the island was eventually rendered unfit for subsistence farming and fishing, and because of radioactive contamination still remains uninhabitable today. So much for the “temporary” evacuation of the Bikinians from their native island to help the United States “end all world wars.”


The worst nuclear accident in Great Britain’s history, the core of the nuclear reactor at Windscale, Cumberland (now Sellafield, Cumbria) caught fire, releasing substantial amounts of radioactive contamination into the surrounding area. Caused by operators pushing the first-generation design of the Windscale facility beyond its intended limits, the fire burned for three days releasing radioactive material into the atmosphere that spread across the UK and Europe.


A reactor at the Atomics International field laboratory in the Santa Susana Mountains, California, experienced a power surge and subsequently spewed radioactive gases into the atmosphere. According to a 2009 report from the Los Angeles Times, residents blame the facility for their health issues and say the site remains contaminated.


The worst accident in U.S. commercial history, the Three Mile Island Unit 2 (TMI-2) reactor near Middletown (PA) partially melted down on March 28, 1979. A combination of equipment malfunctions, design-related problems and worker errors led to TMI-2″s partial meltdown and off-site releases of radioactivity. 14 years later, the clean up effort officially ended in December


Widely considered to have been the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, Chernobyl’s reactor four suffered a catastrophic power increase leading to explosions in its core. The explosion and resulting fire released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, which spread over much of the western USSR (the then-Soviet Republic) and Europe.


Following insider reports of unsafe conditions, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) found numerous violations of federal anti-pollution laws, including the contamination of water and soil. A grand jury report released following this incident criticized the Department of Energy and Rocky Flats contractors for “engaging in a continuing campaign of distraction, deception and dishonesty”, and noted that Rocky Flats had discharged pollutants, hazardous materials and radioactive matter into nearby creeks and water supplies for many years. But even the DOE itself acknowledged that Rocky Flats’ ground water was (at the time) the single greatest environmental hazard at any of its nuclear facilities.

The contamination levels at Rocky Flats itself, as measured by the United States government remain sealed records and have not been reported to the public. Clean-up was not declared complete until October 13, 2005 — 18 years later.


The troubled Fukishima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan has experienced a number of “incidents’ since its construction in 1971, culminating in total reactor failure when the plant was hit by a tsunami triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake. At the time of the disaster, the plant began releasing substantial amounts of radioactive materials making it the largest nuclear incident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the second in history (with Chernobyl) to measure at Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. More than two years after the incident it was revealed that the plant is still leaking radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, and despite the technical assistance of GE (the corporation that designed the failing reactor) the situation appears to keep deteriorating as time goes on.



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