United States threatened with its own mini-Fukushima disaster

Leaders in a St. Louis suburb are pleading with Obama Administration officials to clean up a radioactive land fill that has the potential to be engulfed in flames.(1)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been trying to do so something about the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, MO, for the past 25 years. Barium sulfate waste from the Manhattan Project was dumped in the landfill in 1973.(1)

The private company Mallinckrodt – a Big Pharma corporation that used to produce material for atomic bombs and is now headquartered in Ireland presumably to avoid paying U.S. taxes – allegedly illegally dumped the toxic waste into the landfill. Unsurprisingly, data provided by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reveals that cancer rates are higher among residents who live near the radioactive landfill.(2,3)

The EPA has been trying to cook up a plan for how to contain the radioactive waste. Fire from an adjacent landfill threatens to spread more of the waste into the environment. No one is sure what will happen if the two landfills collide. It could spark a nuclear emergency that could blanket the masses.(3)

Residents and officials have written many letters to the Obama Administration to step up and take care of the problem.(1)

“Given that this is a problem that began with the federal government, we believe that the Corps of Engineers is the best suited entity to handle West Lake Landfill,” Ed Smith, energy program director with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, told sources.(1)

“We believe that it would be within the power of the president to issue an executive order to clean up the bureaucratic administrative mess at West Lake Landfill, put one government agency in charge and utilize the EPA, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, what have you, as experts on these issues while having one quarterback instead of two,” he added.(1)

A spokesman for the White House said the Obama Administration has heard the pleas of Missourians but has not stated if any actions will be taken.(1)

The situation has ominous undertones reminiscent of the Fukushima disaster, when the Japanese government failed to make adequate preparations that would prevent a nuclear disaster from ensuing. Unlike the Fukushima disaster, however, the radioactive threat at the West Lake Landfill can still be contained.

Sources include:

(1) TheHill.com

(2) AndrewTheising.com

(3) America.AlJazeera.com

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