Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Toxic Cleanup Part II

While doing some research on the Aleutian Islands, I ran across this little tidbit on the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association site. Looks like Alameda isn't the only place where the government is doing toxic cleanup. A ways back, the gov was doing nuclear testing on Amchitka. They have since stopped and are now cleaning up. Here is an excerpt of the text from the APIA site:
"The U. S. Atomic Energy Commission created a nuclear testing facility on Amchitka in the early 1960s. Three underground nuclear explosions occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. The first detonation was the "Long Shot," an 80 kiloton bomb. The second was "Milrow," a one megaton device exploded on 2 Oct 1969, 4,000 feet below the surface of the island. The third device, "Cannikan," weighing in at 5 megatons, was detonated on 6 Nov 1971. It was the largest underground nuclear explosion in U.S. history. This facility was closed down in 1994, with on-going U. S. Government cleanup of the radioactive, chemical, and other hazardous waste. While there is an airstrip on Amchitka, it is currently restricted to U. S. Government flights only."
Question: How do you clean up after detonating 6 megatons worth of nukes? Given that only government flights can land there, cleanup must be iffy. At least they stopped doing above ground testing.
Advice: When planning your next Aleutian kayak adventure, avoid Amchitka.

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