Bury, Bury Scary
The Department of Energy now says the amount of plutonium and other radioactive waste from the manufacture of nuclear weapons that was released into soil or buried in thin containers from the 1940s to the 1970s was 10 times larger than previously thought. The DOE had been saying since 1987 that more than 97 percent of the wastes from weapons production was being kept in “retrievable” storage, which at some point would be taken to a permanent deep storage site in Carlsbad, N.M, and that only 3 percent had been poured into dirt or shallowly buried in flimsy containers. An enviro group, the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, in 1997 told the DOE that the agency’s own data indicated that those percentages were wrong, and after two years of study, the DOE has agreed. Beatrice C. Brailsford of the enviro group Snake River Alliance in Idaho said that plutonium that had been buried 20 feet below the surface had already been found 240 feet down and that it would only take about 25 more years for it to reach the Snake River aquifer 590 feet down.