Congress Demands Investigation Into the U.S.'s Nuclear Coffin

December 29, 2019 0 By HearthstoneYarns

The video above was originally reported in May 2019.

From Popular Mechanics

  • The “Runit Dome” is a concrete structure at Runit Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

  • The dome was built to seal in nuclear waste from atomic testing, but there is evidence it’s failing.

  • The 2020 defense budget directs the federal government to look into and prepare a plan to fix the problem.

The U.S. Congress has ordered an investigation into the so-called “Runit Dome,” a concrete dome containing contaminated radioactive debris leftover from nuclear weapons tests. The Department of Energy (DOE) has six months to report back on the status of the dome, which is apparently cracked and filling with seawater. Nuclear activists and others worry that a larger leak could threaten to spill radioactive waste over a wide area.

The Runit Dome, also known as “The Tomb,” is a 328-foot-wide crater created by a nuclear explosion that was filled with radioactive debris from a variety of tests conducted at Runit Atoll. The dome is so large it is easily visible in Google Maps.

The dome contains 110,000 cubic yards of radioactive contaminated soil and 6,000 cubic yards of contaminated debris. In 1980, the U.S. government built a concrete dome 18 inches thick over the crater, sealing the radioactive contents inside.

Unfortunately, the government failed to build a concrete lining for the debris, and the dome is currently threatened by rising sea levels. Sea water has reportedly entered the dome, introducing the possibility that radioactive waste could seep out. The Marshall Islands government, which was saddled with responsibility for the dome, is worried that further deterioration could create an environmental hazard. A typhoon could create an all-out hazard.

The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, otherwise known as the 2020 defense budget, directs the DOE to investigate “the status of the Runit Dome in the Marshall Islands” and the dangers posed by potential leaks. The DOE is also directed to come up with “a detailed plan to repair the dome to ensure that it does not have any harmful effects to the local population, environment, or wildlife, including the projected costs of implementing such plan.”


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