Risks of nuclear energy outweigh benefits

Monday, March 17, 2014 11:42 AM

I hope you’re enjoying the current trifecta of radioactive-waste spills. Recent news reports indicate that nuclear waste-storage tanks in Spokane, Wash., are leaking. Storage tanks at Hanford nuclear site have been, and continue, leaking radioactive contaminants into the water table and Columbia River. An area 40 miles wide by 200 miles long stretching from Dallas to Spokane was, and probably still is, contaminated by Iodine-131 at levels 1,000 times the acceptable daily limit from a 1949 nuclear experiment known as the “Green Run.” That was pretty much kept secret until Dec. 2, 2012, when it was revealed in a newspaper story in The Register-Guard story in Eugene, Ore.

In the “Green Run” experiment, people living around the Hanford area were intentionally exposed to raw, irradiated uranium fuel, not told of their exposure, then studied and monitored by the government to see the health effects – which were negative: cancers, etc. Current news reports show a cluster of specific birth defects occurring in Yakima, Wash., where about 20 children have been born missing large parts of their skulls and brains. Some studies have suggested there have been millions of still births, birth defects and other health problems in the areas surrounding Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. Also, the WIPP underground radioactive waste storage site is leaking, contaminating workers with radiation in Carlsbad, N.M. Don’t forget the permanent dead zones at Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Mankind can live without nuclear power, and weapons, and it should be banned because it hasn’t been used for good purposes – H-bombs. It hasn’t been used safely in the past, and it can’t be safely used, stored or disposed of. In the future, the risks outweigh any potential benefit.

Frita Schnell