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Thursday, May 29, 2008

World of Denial

What is it about Spring that makes one ponder nuclear waste? Perhaps the warming weather and thoughts of sunny beaches on the Oregon Coast or the Irish Sea.

Since 2005, when Juli Kearns published her exquisite essay Growing Up in the Shadow of Mt. Fuji, the illustrious editor of Idyll Opus Press and I have had a running conversation about the madness of nuclear energy. Having both grown up near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Southeastern Washington state, Juli and I shared the sometimes bizarre experience of having lived as fully conscious individuals in a surrounding world of denial.

Coming across news of nuclear contamination of the Irish Sea from the Sellafield plant in England recently, I pulled together some of the posts and comments exchanged by Juli and I over the last three years. Maybe by discussing this particular insanity, we can help bring closure to the madness.

(My associate, CWIS board member Russell Jim, serves as the manager of the Yakama Nation's Environmental Restoration and Waste Management Program, working to cleanup the Hanford Nuclear site while protecting the treaty rights of the Yakama Nation.)

Postscript: On June 5, 2002, CBS 60 Minutes did a horrifying follow-up story on the nearby Umatilla Chemical (Weapons) Depot. This article has a locational map. Hanford is next to Richland. Last Thursday, the U.S. Army issued a press release announcing the recent shutdown to fix backed-up plumbing in the chemical incinerator plant exposed no one to danger, and that they plan to begin burning mustard gas next week.


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