Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Portland OR AfD to work on city council resolution on Hanford nuke site

The same corporations which produce nuclear waste also get the contracts for cleaning it up, and the longer it sits around the bigger the problems--and the profits. Portland AfD has gotten their city council interested in addressing problems at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, according to David e. Delk, Portland Alliance for Democracy.

Before each Portland city council meeting the public can make brief statements on matters of concern. Recently, AfD members Nancy Matela and David Delk took advantage of that opportunity to present their concerns on US Department of Energy plans to move new nuclear waste to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state. Hanford is the site of the development of plutonium for the nuclear bombs which leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII. The nuclear waste from that as well as from additional nuclear weapons development at the site and elsewhere around the nation in the intervening years remains on site, largely uncleared or contained, with leakage now flowing into the Columbia River, the fourth largest river in the United States.

In spite of the 1989 Tri-Party Agreement (TPA) which set time tables ("milestones" in USDOE speak) for the clean up of Hanford, most of the toxic waste still remains. One TPA provision stated that no new nuclear waste is to be taken to Hanford until the existing waste is cleaned up. The time tables have continually been adjusted into the future (some estimate that clean up of the single shell storage containers will not be complete until 2100; the expected life of the containers was originally stated to be 20 years) and very little clean-up has occurred. Nonetheless, USDOE is going to issue Environment Impact Statements in the near future to move more nuclear waste for "recycling" to Hanford. Recycling will produce more nuclear waste, waste which will be stored on site in clear violation of the TPA.

Nancy and David called on the City of Portland to develop statements or resolutions of opposition to these plans. They were met with favorable responses from Mayor Adams and other council members. Mayor Adams asked that we work specifically with him and his office on this important environmental and health issue.

Note that the same corporations which produce nuclear waste also get the contracts for cleaning it up. And the longer they delay the clean-up, the larger the contract and, therefore, the profits are. Bechtel states on their website "Over the past half century, we've been a global leader in the design and construction of fossil- and nuclear-fueled power plants." On another page of Bechtel's website we learn that "Bechtel National is building a nuclear waste treatment plant for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) at Hanford." Either way, making nuclear waste or trying to clean it, Bechtel makes a profit.

Please keep posted on further developments and announcements for when public meetings and comment periods will happen by either going to our website ( or joining our email list (send message to join to

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