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Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Reagan and Hanford

While we're getting all soft and fuzzy remembering Reagan, I recall that one his strategies in the Cold War was to restart massive nuclear weapons production. This move came despite the fact that our atomic weapons factories, at places like Hanford on the Columbia River in south central Washington State and Savannah River in South Carlonia, are among the most dangerous and environmentally most offensive industrial facilities in the world.

Environment be damned, "Dutch" went ahead and restarted much of the crumbling complex, including Hanford's N Reactor, which shared its design with another well-known reactor, called Chernobyl. American lives were endangered, and lots of lots of nuclear waste and other toxic pollution was created. Many said the new production was not needed, and both fiscally and ecologically irresponsible.

We won the Cold War, but at a high price.

They say Reagan should have a memorial. He's already got one that will last 100,000 years.

Comments (4)

That is why I remember ole Ronnie as the great poker player whose massive anteing up of incredible defense spending forced the Soviets to do the same which finally bankrupted the communists' crumbling, corrupt infrastructure.

Now I am far from a fan of the Gipper. I'm sure there are a lot of folks in Central American who do not hold him in high regard either.

But didn't the gamble pay off in the respect that we are no longer in a full-on Cold War? Ask a lot of Eastern Europeans, citizens of Baltic states and other former Soviet satellites.

Now the real question IMHO is: was it worth the gamble?

Hanford was already screwed up well before Reagan hit the scene. But did the upswing in activity create new problems?

Yes, people keep forgetting that there were some democrats out there that had a way to end the cold war without spending money or doing anything to affect anyone. they would have simply waved a magic wand on their way to Utopia and the USSR's economy would have collapsed just as fast as it did. Also, they would have been able to get billions of funding for all diseases and they would have been cured.

I'm not so foolish as to think Reagan ended the Cold War singlehandedly. I think most agree that it came more quickly but would have come anyway. One thing that can't be overlooked, however, is that he helped set the demise in motion in a way where eastern bloc countries weren't forced into violent revolt against a still powerful soviet union. Instead, they were impotent agains the coming tide of democracy, and due not in small part to our late President.

Jack, at that point the sites were already polluted. A little more didn't change anything. Now, like most Superfund sites, it's a goldmine...for lawyers.

Weren't Hanford and Savannah River two of the original nuclear research sites from the Manhattan Project? You're about forty years late in complaining about the pollution

John, I don't buy the argument, "It's already cr*pped up, so we can just dump all the new stuff there, too." Plus, to run a graphite-moderated reactor after Chernobyl was highly irresponsbile.

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