Worker’s Handbook from Hanford: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/22162078/knowing-endangerment-hanford-challenge
TV: Alarm over “Catastrophic Leak” at US nuclear site — “Emergency response underway” — Surge in radioactive leakage after “essentially blowing a hole” in massive tank containing “deadliest substance on earth” — Former Worker: “I was very shocked to hear it breached that significantly” (VIDEOS)
Published: April 20th, 2016 at 5:19 pm ET
KING 5 News, Apr 18, 2016 (emphasis added): Leak worsens in massive Hanford tank holding nuclear waste; An emergency response is underway at Hanford, where a tank is leaking radioactive waste — A leak in a massive nuclear waste storage tank at the Hanford Site has expanded significantly, KING 5 learned this weekend… one former tank farm worker said the leak should be considered a major problem. “This is catastrophic. This is probably the biggest event to ever happen in tank farm history…” said former Hanford worker Mike Geffre… Until now, the leak found by Geffre was very slow. The liquid would almost immediately dry up… Sources told KING the disturbance caused by the pumping must have exacerbated the leak: essentially blowing a hole in the aging tank allowing the material to leak more quickly… “The hazards to workers just went up by a factor of 10,” said Geffre… [A current worker said,] “There’s always the question, ‘Are the outer shells compromised’”? The accumulation of waste in the outer shell also means the deadliest substance on earth is that much closer to the ground…
KING 5 News transcript, Apr 18, 2016: No one knows if the waste has already leaked into the soil… (Mike Geffre, former Hanford worker): “I was very shocked to hear that the tank had breached that significantly and that much waste had been [leaked?] in that short of time.”
KREM, Apr 18, 2016: ‘Catastrophic’ event at Hanford prompts emergency response; Over the weekend, a leak in a massive nuclear waste storage tank expanded significantly
KREM transcript, Apr 18, 2016: It’s being called a catastrophic leak at the Hanford nuclear site… Mike Geffre a former Hanford employee… told KING 5 that a leak of this magnitude is quote catastrophic… (Official:) “It’s just one more ‘Yes, the tanks are failing.’”
KIRO, Apr 18, 2016: Significant amount of waste leaks within Hanford double-shell tank… So far, no waste has leaked from the tank into the soil beneath it, but checks are ongoing… The DOE says the increased rate of leakage may have occurred because of work inside the tank dislodged material that was partially blocking leak sites.
KVEW, Apr 18, 2016: An alarm activated yesterday while crews were pumping waste from tank AY-102… The Department of Energy notified the state Department of Ecology that a leak detector alarm went off… The alarm indicated an increase in waste seeping from the primary tank into the space between the primary and secondary tank, known as the annulus.
KPLU, Apr 19, 2016: Increased Leakage From Huge Tank of Radioactive Waste At Hanford Sets Off Alarms — An apparent surge in leakage from a huge tank of radioactive waste set off alarms at the Hanford nuclear site… instruments detected a sharp rise of toxic brew in the space between the inner and outer tank walls.
Weather Channel, Apr 19, 2016: ‘Catastrophic’ Leak Found in Nuclear Waste Tank at Washington State Storage Site — An ongoing nuclear waste leak in Washington State has rapidly intensified over the past weekend, leaving workers scrambling.
Tri City Herald, Apr 18, 2016: Significant amount of waste leaks within Hanford tank; Leak estimates surge from 70 gallons to 3,000-3,500 gallons… An alarm for a level detector in the annulus sounded about 3:30 a.m. Sunday… It dropped by about three-quarters of an inch… raising the possibility that it might be leaking from the outer shell.
AP, Apr 19, 2016: “We’re continuing our checks of the tank to determine whether any material might be escaping from the tank itself,” said Jerry Holloway of Washington River Protection Solutions, which manages the underground tanks for the U.S. Department of Energy.
L.A. Times: “Ongoing fish famine” along US West Coast — “Dearth of food across ocean” — Severe fishery implosion — Supply has been low since 2011 — Gov’t Expert: “Looks very grim… It is hard to watch”
Published: February 29th, 2016 at 9:58 am ET
L.A. Times, Feb 25, 2016 (emphasis added): Fewer sea lions have been stranded this year, but that’s a bad sign, scientists say… it’s a sign that the sea lion population is dwindling rather than recovering. An ongoing fish famine is preventing mothers from producing enough milk, resulting in smaller and less hardy pups. As of Monday, there had been 375 sea lion strandings so far in 2016… about 160 sea lions are found stranded during the first two months of a typical year… [L]ess available prey are hurting newly born sea lions the most, potentially slowing down the species’ population growth, scientists say. “It’s going to decline,” said Sharon Melin, wildlife biologist at the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center… During NOAA’s survey of the sea lion breeding grounds, Melin said, researchers saw more dead pups than usual. The increased mortality could cause fewer pups to become stranded because they’re dying before they can leave the islands, she said. The exact number of dead pups is not known… The pups… should have gained about 20 pounds in the last six months, Melin said, but they haven’t grown at all. “It still looks very grim this year,” Melin said…
S.D. Union Tribune, Feb. 24, 2016: Record sea lion strandings are tapering off; Scientists say the trend may indicate dwindling population, not a recovery… SeaWorld San Diego typically rescues 200 marine mammals in any given year. Already this year, there are 147 sea lions in SeaWorld’s care, according to David Koontz, theme park spokesman… The low birth weight suggests that there isn’t adequate prey… “It’s a clear sign that there is a mismatch between supply and demand,” said Nate Manuta, a NOAA climate scientist… The dearth of food across the ocean isn’t harming the adult sea lions as much as the pups… Melin said more pups are leaving their mothers before they are ready, likely because of hunger… Because food supplies have been low for five years, the habits of the species have to adjust. “We are seeing adaptation,” Melin said, “even though it is hard to watch.”
Seattle Times, Feb 27, 2016: Sardines off the West Coast have continued on a steep decline, with populations this summer forecast to be down 93 percent from a 2007 peak, according to a draft assessment from the National Marine Fisheries Service… Last year, the sardine implosion was so severe that the Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to call off the season that was scheduled to start in July for West Coast fleets… The stocks of sardines aged one year or older are forecast to be 64,422 metric tons, about a third lower than the 2015 assessment… Albert Carter, of Ocean Gold Seafood… who serves on a Pacific Fishery Management Council advisory committee, said… if populations have continued to decline, he does not expect a 2016 season.
See also: Officials: “Historic crisis” along US West Coast… “We’re facing a fishery disaster”… “Very never-seen-before things”… Should be exclamation alarm to public — Extinction threat for salmon runs; Loss of sardines, squid, sea urchins, kelp; Massive sea star deaths; Marine mammal strandings… more
TV: US nuclear workers’ brains eaten away, hallucinating, mental capacity of preschooler — Wife films frightened, trembling husband on deathbed — It’s indescribable what they’ve done and they don’t care — They want you to die — Gov’t Experts: It’s allergies from cats or feathers… or B-12 deficiency — Doctor: Quit helping workers get help
Published: November 21st, 2014 at 3:05 pm ET
KING 5 News, Nov. 20, 2014: Steve Ellingson, a radiation specialist [at Hanford] sought treatment… after he inhaled toxic vapors… Penser North America [administers the DOE insurance system]… The physician paid by Penser… determined “there’s no evidence of work related impairment [and he] most likely encountered an irritating odor”… That physician is Larry Smick… He never met Ellingson in person… His conclusions were based on the review of his medical file… Smick has a longstanding history of dismissing Hanford workers.
KING 5 News transcript, Nov. 20, 2014 (emphasis added): In 2002, Steve Lewis, a Hanford electrician developed burning lungs, chronic nosebleeds… [Dr. Smick] concluded it was allergies from cats or feathers… not vapors vented from the most deadly substance on earth. Did you have allergies before? “I’ve never had an allergy in my life.”… Dr. Smick left a trail of emails showing he was under pressure to keep contractors happy. In an email to his staff… he directed them to quit helping workers get help. “Please do not encourage workers to file compensation claims. We could be invited off the site if that behavior continues.”… A former medical provider that worked under Dr. Smick accused her boss of not putting patient health first, Smick responded… “Occupational medicine is not the same as other types of medicine. You have the business needs of the employer to consider.”
KING 5 News, Oct 14, 2014: Gary Sall… [worked at Hanford] for 28 years… 10 years ago… his brain function got worse and worse. Within 5 years he… could barely speak, hallucinated, and operated on the level of a 4-year-old… Doctors diagnosed him with work-related toxic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disorder… [His wife] Barb documented the suffering in a difficult to watch video taken in 2011… in a hospital bed, trembling and frightened and on a feeding tube… The DOE’s insurer wrote that not Hanford, but alcohol consumption or a B-12 deficiency could be making him sick… He died 3 years ago at the age of 57.
Barbara Sall, Hanford worker: “You totally lose everything… your memories, your mind… Everything’s gone, it’s just a shell… No one should ever see their loved one go through what he went through. It got very, very bad… Once you get sick they get rid of you, you’re no good anymore… [It’s] undescribable what they’ve done to my family. They don’t care. They don’t even know we exist… Washington DC is turning its back on the fact that Hanford… is killing people.”
KING 5 News, Oct. 28, 2014 — Barbara Sall: “It is so scary, and they do nothing about it, and I don’t understand why this is still going on… They don’t think that we’re people.”
Tri City Herald, June 8, 2011: “It’s an awful way to go,” [Sall] said. “It eats your brain away. It turns you into nothing.”… “How many people… have to die before [DOE] is held accountable for what it is doing to workers?” asked Lawrence Rouse, who has the [same] disease.
Al Jazeera, Oct 14, 2014: Terry Wattenburger [age 50]… a few years back, he looked like a football player… cancer and lung disease have taken a toll… [he dropped] to 106 pounds… doctors removed his entire stomach… He struggles with… neuromuscular disorder… stomach cancer… nerve damage… “My immune system is totally compromised”… Jerry Ferson [worked] at Hanford… for nearly 30 years… medical records show… brain dysfunction… toxic encephalopathy… neurotoxicity syndrome… “his limbs are jerking all over, that’s hard for me,” said Linda Ferson, his wife. “But the mental aspect of it is the worst… He can’t remember how to turn the oven on.”… “They don’t want to take care of you,” he said. “They want you to die.”