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Wed Jul 15, 2015, 02:03 AM

Los Alamos will never be clean

ACID CANYON — A dirt trail shaded by ponderosa pines drops down the slope of this small canyon below the Los Alamos Nature Center and a recreation center.

The canyon became a dumping ground during the Manhattan Project. Old pipes, washing machines, culverts and other debris from the era were tossed into the canyon by nearby homeowners and Los Alamos National Laboratory staff.

The nature center, graced by new gardens and an expansive view of the Jemez Mountains, sits near the site of a chemical waste treatment plant used by scientists who built the first nuclear weapons. From 1943 to 1964, the treatment plant shed into the canyon more than 30 million gallons of treated and untreated liquid radioactive and chemical waste laced with tritium, strontium, plutonium and other radioactive materials that settled on rocks and soil. It was one of several canyons around Los Alamos used as dumping grounds by the lab during the Manhattan Project and the subsequent Cold War.

“The scientists knew this canyon was contaminated back in the 1950s and ’60s,” said Greg Mello, a former inspector with the state Environment Department and now a partner in the nuclear watchdog Los Alamos Study Group with his wife, Trish. “Their children played here.”

Read more: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/los-alamos-will-never-be-clean/article_a3cc7ce1-8af0-5113-8f38-5d4aa673fd7a.html

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Wed Jul 15, 2015, 02:17 AM

1. It's hard to explain to anyone who wasn't there

just how paranoid the anticommunists were back in the 50s and 60s. By the 70s, the Russkies had failed to cross the Fulda Gap long enough that only the military remained that paranoid, funding readiness for that scenario through today.

They didn't care about dumping poison where the kids played because they didn't honestly expect the kids to grow up, they thought the nuclear holocaust was imminent and were out to win it at any cost.

The cost is the eventual contamination of the groundwater we in NM rely upon in such a dry climate. They didn't have to pay it. Our descendents in this state will.

It's why there are ancient and leaking chemical weapons stored in the PNW, never designed to be serviced and now too dangerous to transport or even touch.

One of the major jobs of the next few generations will be to try to undo the damage the anticommunists did to this country in the name of winning a war that we are very lucky never happened.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Mon Mar 14, 2016, 09:39 PM

2. Stalin was killed by his own associates because he really did want to start that war

He was a madman in every sense of the word.

I don't agree with the MacCarthyists on practically anything but on the point of Stalin and nuclear war, they were definitely right. Power does horrible things to people.

Nuclear weapons are really horrible. And i am sure everybody knows the dual story of the Soviet Tsar Bomba and the miscalculation at Bikini Atoll.

We could have lost our planet's atmosphere!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsar_Bomba

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Bravo

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Response to Baobab (Reply #2)

Tue Mar 15, 2016, 02:17 AM

3. The McCarthyites might have been correct about Stalin, but they were late to the party

My own mother had a brief flirtation with the Communist Party in the 30s when they were the only ones taking Hitler seriously, which made the McCarthy years memorable when I was little. She watched the hearings white knuckled, half listening for the knock on the door. All it took was a neighbor with a real or imagined grudge and your life would be ruined, especially if anyone had seen you at a meeting 20 years earlier.

Most people thronging the meetings in the 30s were long gone by the beginning of the war, having realized what Stalin was up to.

Nuclear weapons are also largely unusable, something India and Pakistan have found out. Being able to incinerate each other's urban populations have kept the two talking.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #3)

Tue Mar 15, 2016, 02:44 AM

4. Even a small nuclear war would kill two billion people indirectly

by raising the cost of food.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Tue Mar 15, 2016, 02:47 AM

5. I love that area.. its spectacularly beautiful.

Chaco Canyon is what got me into it.

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