Sunday, December 20, 2015

News You Can't Use: Polluted Nuclear Weapons Site to Become Tourist Destination

All right fellow campers, let's all keep one eye and one ear on those Geiger counters. That rapid ticking noise it's currently making is bad, lil Timmy, very bad. Hey look, an owl! I hope the amazing word picture I just put the final glorious strokes on in the above sentences gives you an adequate idea of the wonders and terrors that await at our newest national park, a site of both nuclear pollution and profound natural beauty. Hunt a two-headed deer, swim in glowing water, watch with silent wonder as your hair falls out in fist-sized clumps and you then die in extreme agony over a forty-eight hour period. What could possibly go wrong?

The nation's most polluted nuclear weapons production site is now its newest national park.

Expect to hear about this in the sequel to Crippled America, working title America Ground into Fine Powder and Scattered Across a Salt Marsh.

Thousands of people are expected next year to tour the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, home of the world's first full-sized nuclear reactor, near Richland, about 200 miles east of Seattle in south-central Washington.

National Lampoon's Rad Sickness Vacation. This year kids we're taking a nice family camping trip to an exclusion zone.

They won't be allowed anywhere near the nation's largest collection of toxic radioactive waste.

It'll be at least a hundred feet away from the main campground, maybe even a little further.

Everything is clean and perfectly safe," said Colleen French, the U.S. Department of Energy's program manager for the Hanford park. "Any radioactive materials are miles away."

You can trust me, I'm from the government.

At Hanford, the main attractions will be B Reactor - the world's first full-sized reactor - along with the ghost towns of Hanford and White Bluffs, which were evacuated by the government to make room for the Manhattan Project.

Visitors might also get the chance to run afoul of a family of horribly mutated cannibals.

The park will tell the story of those workers, plus the scientists who performed groundbreaking research and the residents who were displaced, said Chip Jenkins of the National Park Service, which is jointly developing the park with the Energy Department.

The exciting story of "all dead from deadly invisible particles" will really come to life for you.

"The intention of the park is to tell the full and complex and convoluted story," Jenkins said. That story is still being developed, but will certainly include a Japanese perspective, he said.

You'll wonder which is more toxic: the deadly radiation or the unnecessary and insulting political correctness. 

Tours will occur from April to October, French said. Exhibits at the B Reactor include the exposed face of the reactor and the control room, where many visitors like to sit and be photographed at control panels, she said. 

Get ready for the scourge of "reactor selfies" and "In #control room #YOLO #Irradiated."

Best vacation ever.

The Hanford story is far from over. Jenkins noted that thousands of scientists and other workers remain active on the Hanford site, inventing and implementing new techniques to clean up the massive volume of nuclear waste. 

Hubris and madness, what a story.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.   

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