Locus Focus on 04/25/11
HANFORD'S NUCLEAR LEGACY & LESSONS UNLEARNED FROM FUKUSHIMA
The nuclear crisis that was triggered by the massive earthquake in Japan on March 11 has raised many questions about the vulnerability and safety of nuclear power installations throughout the world. But we've heard little discussion about the on-going saga of the radioactive wonderland two hundred miles upstream from Portland, at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
This World War II era complex not only houses a vast legacy of toxic chemical and high-level radioactive wastes. It is also the site of the Pacific Northwest's singular nuclear power reactor. And a couple months ago, the Seattle-based watchdog group Heart of America Northwest exposed a secret plan to use a Plutonium-based fuel (called MOX), similar to the fuel in the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex. As we recall the desperate images of workers deploying fire trucks and helicopters to dump seawater on the crippled reactor, we need to remember that cooling the No. 3 reactor was of particular concern because the Plutonium fuel has a greater risk for significant plutonium release and subsequent plutonium contamination of areas around the plant.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Gerry Pollet with Heart of Americal Northwest about his group's efforts to expose and prevent MOX from becoming the fuel of choice at Hanford's remaining nuclear reactor. We'll also talk about the latest developments in the long drawn out drama of cleaning up Hanford's toxic legacy. What lessons must the Hanford handlers learn from Fukushima?
Heart of America Northwest lawsuit exposes secret plan of Energy Northwest (formerly WPSS) to use Weapons Plutonium to fuel commercial reactor at Hanford - read Seattle Times front page March 19, 2011 Same experimental Plutonium fuel as causing highest risk of radiation release in Japanese reactor meltdown read complaint
Gerald Pollet, J.D., Executive Director & Attorney is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Heart of America Northwest. Gerry chairs the Hanford Advisory Board’s committee overseeing USDOE’s Hanford budgets, management and contracts. He has testified by invitation to U.S. Senate and U.S. House Committees, is frequently quoted in national and regional media. He also serves as general counsel for Legal Advocates for Washington, which provides legal advice on non-profit, electoral and hazardous waste law. Gerry also has been serving on the board of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, and the Washington Coalition for Open Government. His work on Hanford and prior work on economics of electric utility forecasting has led to frequent requests that he lecture about the lessons of Hanford and the role of nuclear power in fighting global warming. In 2002, Gerry was honored as the “National Grassroots Activist of the Year” by the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability for his leadership in the seven year effort to shutdown and dismantle the FFTF Nuclear Reactor. Gerry was also honored with the Paul Beeson Peace Award by Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility in 2005.