Toxic Waste & Wasteful Spending
The nuclear meltdown in Japan has given cause to revaluate the state of our own facilities. Hanford, in southeast Washington, was the location for the most plutonium production in America during the Cold War. 20 years later, it’s a mess consisting of 53 million gallons of toxic waste. It will have to endure until 2019 when largest and most expensive nuclear clean up in history is set to commence. The plan is to spend $74 billion over those next 25 years, more than the annual budget of the Department of Education.
But something is amiss. The Department of Energy and The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board seems to be somewhat at odds. The safety board is investigating whether the DOE may have pressured witnesses in hearing to downplay the risks of the clean-up. The DOE is pissed that they’re even looking into the matter, citing that the board does not even have the authority to investigate. The safety concerns seem valid though. The process of transforming toxic waste into radioactive glass logs could poison the nearby Columbia River.
Local residents seem to think it’s all good, take your sweet pimp time. Restaurant owner Leonardo Luzi sums it up rather eloquently saying, “If the government spends more money, it’s good for us.” True dat; the recession seems to have skipped over the Columbia River region as house valued soared, and job growth was the highest in the country. It must be nice sucking on the financial teat of the federal government while unemployment plagues the rest of the country. However if Japan has taught us anything it’s that we need to seek out alternative forms of energy in the post Cold War world. I’m sure we could find a better way to allocate $74 billion dollars.
Learn more in the March 19th-25th edition of The Economist