This is a work in progress… Today’s segment is 34 seconds.
Starting in 1944, the Hanford Reservation in central Washington produced Plutonium for nuclear weapons, including producing the components for the legendary “Big Boy” atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, to hasten the surrender of the Japanese and end World War II. It continued to do this for many years to support the cold war arms race.
Because of the war-time rush, the Hanford plutonium plants processed the irradiated fuel without allowing the radioactivity enough time to decay. For still unknown reasons, Hanford kept processing this very radioactive fuel even after Japan surrendered. As a result, vast quantities of pollution, especially iodine-131, were discharged into the air. In 1945 alone, more than a half million curies of Iodine-131 were released. The accident at Three Mile Island was estimated to have released about 20 curies. People were exposed to the airborne radiation by breathing the air and consuming certain foods, especially milk from goats or cows that grazed on contaminated vegetation.
Those who lived “downwind” of the plant have been seeking compensation for their losses, including cancers and related injuries. Those who claim harm have taken their case to trial, starting this week in Spokane, WA. Their case is based on the alleged negligence of the federal contractors. Because I am so glad that I and my children are not forced to speak Japanese today, I have enormous sympathy for the victims of this tragedy.
Articles about the situation: Here