viernes, 11 de noviembre de 2016

Nuclear waste problem in St. Louis under critical review

Nuclear waste is a problem in St. Louis and the Good Shepherd National Advocacy Center is trying to figure out how it can engage in the issue for impact.

Province Director of Operations Monte Abbott and I accompanied Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal on a tour of nuclear waste sites in St. Louis on October 23, 2016.

Monte also serves on the Advisory Board for the National Advocacy Center (NAC) and is helping NAC explore environmental concerns to determine where it can engage for impact. I documented the tour.

Sen. Chappelle-Nadal represents District 14 in the Missouri Senate. She said, “I ran for state congress
literally to save the lives of people who live near nuclear waste sites in St. Louis. No political allies were addressing this issue, so I stepped forward to do it.”

The Senator also conducts Town Hall meetings to address citizen concerns. Religious and Laity will attend some of the meetings in November.

Nuclear waste from the atomic age

The story of radioactive waste in St. Louis begins with America’s atomic weapons program at Mallinckrodt Chemical Works (now called Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals) on North 2nd Street.

The U.S. Department of War hired Mallinckrodt in 1942 to produce fissile material from the original Belgian Congo Uranium (U235) for The Manhattan Project. Mallinckrodt used the materials to produce atomic bombs that were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

From 1942 to 1957 Mallinckrodt purified tens of thousands of uranium products at locations in and around the city of St. Louis. By the mid 1940’s Mallinckrodt had run out of space downtown and began shipping its uranium enrichment waste to a 21.7-acre tract of land at the St. Louis airport.

They secretly dumped the nuclear waste on Coldwater Creek and in various St. Louis suburbs, with approval of the federal government. Coldwater Creek flows through north St. Louis County before draining into the Missouri River near the confluence of the Mississippi River.

The creek interconnects underground caves, springs and groundwater tables. This system — coupled with wind, rain, flooding and groundwater seepage — made it possible for radioactive material to travel.

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