" />
Published On: Fri, Nov 7th, 2014

Hanford Engineer: Digging Debate Covers Up Decades of Dirt

Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : In April 2014, nsnbc reported a 400% spike in anencephaly, a rare birth defect correlated with radioactive isotopes, in three counties around Washington State’s Hanford nuclear site. In November, the head of the EPA’s Richland office said digging up contaminated soil is expensive, suggesting not to dig so deep. An engineer working at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation broke the code of silence, saying the top soil debate is covering up decades of dirt and the fact that Hanford spreads plutonium and other isotopes throughout the region. 

Hanford_USA_Yakima_Franklin_BentonSpeaking at the Hanford Advisory Board meeting this week, the debate focused on how much of the contaminated top-soil at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation should be dug up, decontaminated and or otherwise disposed of. Government officials announced during the meeting that they were looking into the possibilities of digging up 10 instead of 15 feet of contaminated soil at Hanford.

The Hanford facility is worldwide recognized as the most radioactive contaminated location in the world, and may only become overshadowed by the region around the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The head of the Richland office of the U.S.’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dennis Faulk, commented on the suggestion to remove 10 instead of 15 feet and the necessary evaluation of the suggestion, saying:

“These evaluations cost money… and if they aren’t going to be accepted we want to kind of have a feel for that”.

Faulk added that digging less would of course be less expensive. The evaluation Faulk referred to is a proposed study of the Hanford facility’s 10 most contaminated square miles on the so-called Central Plateau. The location has been used to dispose billions of liters of radioactive isotope-contaminated liquids and contaminated solid waste in 43 miles of open trenches.

While the U.S. Federal government alleges that it would be able to propose a “solution” for the cleanup of the Hanford site so it would be “safe for future generations” by the spring of 2015, there are others who call the clean-up a cover-up.

Anencephalic child. Anencephaly is strongly correlated to exposure to radioactive isotopes.

Anencephalic child. Anencephaly is strongly correlated to exposure to radioactive isotopes.

In April 2014, nsnbc reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had registered a 400% above national average spike of the rare birth defect anencephaly in Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties, which are located around the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Speaking with CDC epidemiologist Mandy Stahre, who was overseeing the investigation into the birth defects for the Washington State CDC at that time, nsnbc noted that Stahre was literally clueless about the difference between isotopes and radiation, or in other words, hot particles and radiation and the different effects the one or the other have on living organisms.

Subsequent to the publication of the article in April, nsnbc was contacted by an engineer who is working at the Hanford nuclear facility. Speaking on condition of anonymity while proving his credentials, the Hanford engineer stressed that while he is working there, he has advised younger members of his family not to even live within a radius of at least 100 – 150 miles around the reservation.

He noted that both the open garbage disposal pits, leaking containers at “parking lots”, leaking tanks and other sources of contamination endanger the population around the Hanford reservation by releasing a cohort of radioactive isotopes or hot particles including plutonium into the air and the groundwater.

He added that bringing up the issue of “hot particle contamination” at the Hanford site is equivalent to being fired at the spot, manhandled like a criminal, and the prospect of unemployment for the remainder of one’s life.

On Thursday nsnbc spoke with the man who broke Hanford’s “code of silence” about the top-soil removal. He noted that anything is better than nothing, but that neither the removal of 10 or of 15 feet of soil is sufficient to address the problem that highly radioactive isotopes have been working their way down into the ground-water table for decades, and that hot particles are carried with the wind all over the region. The top-soil removal covers up decades of dirt, he added.

CH/L – nsnbc 07.11.2014

Note: Are you a resident of Yakima, Franklin, or Benton county? Are or have you been working at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation? Have you / your family or loved ones been affected? Do you have important information to share? – nsnbc international has launched an in-depth investigation and we are asking you to come forward. We guarantee name protection for whistleblowers. You can contact our editor in chief by e-mail, Skype or phone at: e-mail:, SkypeID: – or phone +45 322 177 31

About the Author

- Dr. Christof Lehmann is the founder and editor of nsnbc. He is a psychologist and former independent political consultant on conflict, conflict resolution and a wide range of other political issues. In March 2013 he established nsnbc as a daily, independent, international on-line newspaper. He can be contacted at nsnbc international at

Displaying 7 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Aude Sapere says:

    If they remove contaminated soil, where will they put it that will not cause harm somewhere else?

  2. Take care they don’t kill you…

    • Rather one day of freedom than years of slavery. Fear is the strongest weapon for oppression, and we won’t allow it to affect us or our work. If we would, we could as well throw the towel into the ring. New, and independent media are winning.
      Contrary to the pre-new-media we have the trust of people who want to do what is right and ethical. We’ll stay on the Hanford case no matter what. It will take a few tens of thousands of years before the site is really safe so others will follow after me, when ever it may be. …

  3. matt moore says:

    Keep doing what you’re doing Christof.
    There are thoughtful people still, who really do appreciate you.

    • Thank you Matt More. I will if I can keep on keeping the newspaper economically afloat until we have become economically feasible. Journalism, especially investigative journalism is not inexpensive. That’s why you see most of those whose policy is dictated by shareholder’s expectation regurgitate news agency reports and press releases. We could really need a helping hand or two just to survive paying phone and sever bills. Don’t forget, nsnbc was started 25 February 2013. I have done and I’ll continue to do my best as long as I can, and hopefully we stay afloat until we can mount a serious challenge to the pre-new-media. Its media by and for the people, and we depend on people chipping in. Not many realize that. Maybe I have to get better at conveying that message. It’s a learning process for me too. Thank you so much for your support.

  4. Zizie Niemeier says:

    Thank you for courage and integrity. I’m Swiss but I have family in Washington state not far from Benton. It is the first time that I see honest, courageous investigative journalism done on that eternal time bomb. Thank you for the engineer. God bless you forever.

  5. Tomi B says:

    I wanna thank you for looking out for ordinary people. We’re all in this together if we can come together for something so important like this, nothing can stop us

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>