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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 29, 2013 at 6:32 AM

Earthquake potential in Washington

Safely store nuclear materials before it’s too late

I appreciate that reporter Sandi Doughton is drawing attention to earthquake risks, but some structures on earthquake faults have radioactive contents — the Columbia Generating Station (CGS) and the nuclear waste tanks at Hanford; the Trident submarine-based nuclear weapons just northwest of Bremerton. Tons of nuclear material are constantly handled and stored there [“Pick your quake from host of scenarios,” NWMonday, May 20].

The CGS should be shut down and its spent fuel stored in on-site, earthquake-proof storage casks. The leaking Hanford tanks need to be rebuilt to advanced earthquake-proof standards. The nuclear-submarine base should be closed, with its warheads dismantled and moved to safe storage and its highly explosive missile-motor fuel rendered safe.

A major earthquake at or near the Hanford tanks and the CGS could contaminate farmlands and Columbia River cities to Portland and beyond. A major earthquake on or near the Trident base, only 20 miles from Seattle, could contaminate Central Puget Sound.

We cannot prevent earthquakes, but we can choose to safely store or remove nuclear materials before they become nuclear contaminants. We do not need to suffer a Fukushima in Washington state.

Mary Hanson, Seattle

Comments | Topics: Columbia Generating Station, earthquake, Hanford

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