Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nevada Tires of Being a Nuclear Testing Ground

Sacrifice Zone - a burial ground for nuclear waste and contamination
What happens to a piece of land that is irrevocably contaminated? Nevada found out it is named a “sacrifice zone” and simply monitored in perpetuity.

The nuclear arms race and the continuing failure of humanity to deal with disputes peacefully have left an area the size of Rhode Island in Nevada’s desert permanently contaminated with radioactivity. Now, the state legislature there wants the federal government to get it cleaned up and both state government houses passed a resolution to that effect, according to The Bulletin.

Approximately 1.6 trillion gallons of water, 5,000 feet below ground level, is contaminated with the radioactive byproducts leftover from 921 nuclear warheads that were detonated underground at the site about 100 miles north of Las Vegas. Nevada wants to be compensated for the loss of the use of that water which is valued at approximately $48 billion and it wants the soil cleaned up as well; cleaned up from 300 million curies of contamination.

Underground testing didn’t end until 1992 so the damage was many years in the making. Should Nevada have to pay a higher price for national security than any other state just because it has miles of largely uninhabited space? But then, should Nevada also factor in the economic advantages it received from all the military and nuclear activities carried out on its soil?

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