Disposing of Nucleaar Waste ... One Past Example

Updated 4 years ago Special to HuntingtonNews.Net

How did the U.S. dispose of Cold War waste?  The U.S. did not just bury it, hoping it will be forgotten, no, they sank it in the Atlantic Ocean. Here, some of the sailors who dumped the radioactive stuff into Davey Jones locker speak of the operation and complications. The sailors on the video discuss the USS Calhoun County.

The Tampa Bay Times received comment from the Atomic Energy Commission about radioactive drum waste disposal in the 1940s and through 1970:

"While documentation such as the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission report of August 1957 provides inventories of radiological materials disposed of during some time frames between the mid-1940s until 1970, we do not have complete historical records that would enable accurate estimates of the exact types or total quantity of radiological waste the Navy disposed of at sea. Among the items disposed were materials from experiments and medical tests; cleanup/decontamination materials (e.g., wipes, sand blast grit); animal carcasses; ashes; used air filters; laboratory equipment; waste from manufacturing weapons; liquid waste; and test samples for potential nuclear fuel sources. The specific radiological compounds varied widely, but all materials disposed of in this fashion would be considered low-level radioactive waste based on the maximum amount of radiological material that would have been deposited in each barrel...." http://www.tampabay.com/news/military/navy-comment-on-the-uss-calhoun-co... .

For the full story of dumping, visit, http://www.tampabay.com/news/military/veterans/the-atomic-sailors/2157927. (McMcClatchy Newspapers and Congressional investigators as late as 2010 continued searching for additional detailed documents on the poison drinking water contamination at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. http://www.tampabay.com/news/military/veterans/is-the-marine-corps-withh... )

Relate these historic waste trails with current news, specifically the Fukushima disaster and the sailors that have refiled a suit for exposure in the early days after the disaster.

During similar time frames, burial was the method to discard "hot" materials. You will find a scene in the film "Silkwood" in which the heroine accidentally sees workers in suits dismantling a "hot" truck for burial.

HNN has published interviews from workers in Piketon, Ohio, that the remains of Huntington's Cold War AEC uranium processing "Reduction Pilot Plant" were buried there in a landfill along with the trucks which delivered the radioactive remains.

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