One of them was the cleanup of the Market Street neighborhood in Philadelphia, where I lived and had my printshop. I successfully organized my neighboring shop owners to band together and pay for street sweeping services, so that not only their places of business, but also their homes, would be free of the dust that always came in from the nearby farmers market. So you see, a proper cleanup was something I took very seriously.
Secretive radioactive Waste Isolation project goes public.
I have just heard, however, that there is now another type of cleanup that is even more serious. This will be happening in the southwestern part of our country, I’m told. One of my acquaintances, who happened to live for some time in those frontier lands of New Mexico (a little after my time, they were still frontier; I understand that they are a bit more developed now), has reported that there is a problem with something called radioactive waste, which has begun leaking underground. (You can read more about the story at http://news.yahoo.com/13-were-exposed-radiation-mexico-plant-104539935.html)
Even though I achieved great fame as a scientist, I must confess I do not know much about this thing called radioactivity – except that it is something very dangerous to human beings, with the potential to cause great sickness and even death.
The background, Ben?
Since this country, I have learned, produces a great deal of radioactive waste as an everyday part of life (from hospitals, businesses, nuclear power plants), there is a need to dispose of it in a safe way. More than a dozen years ago, a plan was put into place to truck all this highly dangerous waste to an isolated place in New Mexico, near the Carlsbad Caverns, and hide it there indefinitely.
The project – knowledge of which was pretty much limited to the New Mexico area, as the result of public officials and news media from elsewhere thinking it was just an unimportant local story – was kept under wraps for some time. True, there were a number of public outcries in New Mexico, some from the native American people through whose towns the waste would have to travel. But, on the whole, nobody east of New Mexico had ever heard of this “Waste Isolation Pilot Project,” or WIPP, as it was called.
Now, however, there are reports in the news that some of the specially designed waste containers are suspected to have developed leaks, because thirteen workers who were above ground the night of the leak have tested positive for radiation.
Bigger than Three Mile Island?
As a newspaperman, I smell a major scoop. This could be one of the biggest stories of the year, much like that Three Mile Island disaster that I understand happened about 35 years ago.
With the presence now of this thing you call “the internet,” I suspect that a story like this could go “viral,” revealing the entire controversial coverup that has occurred over these many years. Why was there never widespread knowledge of this project, before this? And what dangers are we not being told about?
There could be some interesting news developing around this coverup!
Your humble servant,