Earthquakes a new concern at Hanford

The OlympianNovember 5, 2013 

There was already plenty of concern about the federal government’s incompetent cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, but Washington and Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility have uncovered a new cause for alarm: earthquakes.

Since the state’s only nuclear-power plant was built at Hanford about 30 years ago, seismic studies have discovered new geological fault lines and that known faults are longer than previously thought. One of the newly found faults passes only two miles from the Columbia Generating Station.

A major shake could trigger a nuclear disaster here not unlike the meltdowns that occurred after a quake at Japan’s Fukushima site in 2011.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it has ordered a seismic risk review by March of next year. It would take years to complete any necessary upgrades.

It’s one more reason to accelerate the Hanford cleanup and designate a permanent disposal site for our nation’s radioactive waste.

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