Los Angeles Times’ shocking information about the radiation at the Nevada Test Site.
While researching the ecological damage knowingly inflicted on Nevada and its citizens, I ran across an article by reporter Ralph Vartabedian, which he published in 2009. This blog contains bullet points from the original article. A link to the entire story is included if readers would like more information on allegations about the deadly destruction of Nevada’s pristine wilderness.
For The Record: Los Angeles Times Wednesday, November 18, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A
- The article in Friday’s Section about contaminated water at the Nevada Test Site reported the federal drinking water standard for radiation is 20 picocuries per liter. There are three standards, depending on the type of radiation: For alpha particles, the standard is 15 picocuries per liter: for long-term radionuclides, its 50 picocuries per liter, and for short-lived tritium it’s 20,000 picocuries per liter. When nuclear testing ended in 1992, the DOE (Department of Energy) estimated more than 300 million curies of radiation had been left behind, making the site one of the most radioactively contaminated places in the nation. Longer-lived isotopes will continue to pose risks for tens of thousand years.
- They (Nevada elected representatives) pressured federal officials for a fresh environmental assessment of the 1,375-square-mile test site, a step toward a potential demand for monetary compensation, replacement of the lost water or a massive cleanup.
- “It is one of the largest resource losses in the country,” said Thomas S. Buqo, a Nevada hydrogeologist. “Nobody thought to say, ‘You are destroying a natural resource.’ “ Buqo estimated underground tests polluted 1.6 trillion gallons of water. At today’s prices that water would be worth as much as $48 billion if it had not been fouled.
The Department of Energy has no cleanup plans, saying it would be impossible to remove the radioactivity.
- Even before the Cold War turned the landscape radioactive, the test site was a forbidding place, as empty a spot as any in the country. Creosote and sagebrush covered much of the gravelly terrain, punctuated by soaring mountains and crusty lake beds. In the winter months, snow covers the 7,000-foot Pahute Mesa, and a few herds of wild horses roam the high country. In 1950, President Truman secretly selected the site for nuclear testing and withdrew the federally owned land from public use.
Nevada is a state with vast, rugged mountain ranges, desert plains, and untouched wilderness. It’s ghost towns reflect a colorful history filled with even more colorful characters. Today, Nevada is the second fastest growing state in the nation. Truman and his military henchman never envisioned so many people would make a life in what some considered a wasteland. Its land deserves to be protected and preserved. Wrongs need to be set right—and the federal government should be held accountable for their treachery.