Disregarded History:
New York Times Reports on H-bomb Worker Contamination and Cover-ups, 1988-89

News of the radiation poisoning of workers at the Paducah H-bomb factories has rightfully outraged the public. Still, today's reports of the abuse of employees by corporate managers and government overseers in the nuclear weapons complex often ignore the history of the Pentagon's radioactive pollution and the contractors' elaborate cover-ups.

Helen Caldicott reported in the 1995 edition of Nuclear Madness: "In October 1988, the New York Times published twenty full-page stories revealing shocking contamination at 15 major DOE weapons-producing facilities in 13 states. By 1989, it was discovered that there are 3,200 sites in one hundred locations owned by the DOE that have contaminated soil, ground water, or both; but actually there are 45,000 potentially radioactive sites around the United States and twenty thousand of them are government owned."*

Most of the nation's weapons production reactors were closed after these and other news reports brought some fleeting attention to the vast pollution of the nuclear weapons industry. Nukewatch has the records, but without the abolition of nuclearism this history will be repeated:

Oct. 1, 1988, "Accidents At a U.S. Nuclear Plant Were Kept Secret Up to 31 Years: Energy Dept. Asserts It Didn't Know of Events at Weapons Fuel Site."

Oct. 3, 1988, "Du Pont Rejects Contentions It Hid Reactor Problems: Senator Asserts Information on 30 Plant Accidents Was Withheld From Aides."

Oct. 4, 1988, "Energy Dept. Says It Kept Secret Mishaps at Nuclear Weapon Plant: Admission Exonerates Du Pont, Operator of Site."

Oct. 5, 1988, "Ex-Nuclear Aides Deny Being Told of Plant Mishaps: Former AEC Officials Hint That Colleagues Withheld Reports on Accidents."

Oct. 7, 1988, "Inquiry Ordered at Nuclear Arms Site."

Oct. 9, 1988, "Reactor Shutdown Could Impede Nuclear Deterrent, Officials Say."

Oct. 9, 1988, "Panel Is Critical of Nuclear Agency: Congressmen Assail a Plan to Leave Safeguard on Abuse of Alcohol to Utilities."

Oct. 12, 1988, "Energy Secretary Vows Fast Action on Arms Reactor."

Oct. 14, 1988, "Candor on Nuclear Peril: Finances and the Fear of Serious Accident Prompt Rare Openness on Weapon Plants."

Oct. 15, 1988, "U.S. For Decades, Let Uranium Leak At Weapons Plant: Risk to Thousands: Documents Indicate a Decision Not to Act on Major Cleanup."

Oct. 16, 1988, "Du Pont Disputes Charges On Safety At Nuclear Plant: Terms Issue 'Political.'"

Oct. 16, 1988, "After 40 Years, the Silence Is Broken On a Troubled Nuclear Arms Industry."

Oct. 19, 1988, "Bitter Neighborhood Adjoins U.S. Uranium Plant in Ohio."

Oct. 19, 1988, "White House Is Pressed on Safety At Nation's Nuclear Arms Plants."

Oct. 20, 1988, "Problems At Weapon Plants Conceded."

Oct. 20, 1988, "Training Is Cited At Atomic Agency: Human Errors Are Blamed for Civilian Reactor Mishaps."

Oct. 21, 1988, "Dispute on Wastes Poses Threat to Weapons Plant."

Oct. 26, 1988, "Operators Got Millions in Bonuses Despite Hazards at Atom Plants."

Oct. 31, 1988, "Nuclear Plants' Deaths: The Birth of New Problems."

Nov. 7, 1988, "Defects in Nuclear Arms Industry Minimized in Early Reagan Years."

Nov. 9, 1988, "Waste Danger Reported At Nuclear Weapons Plant."

Nov. 10, 1988, "Report for Congress Says Atom Agency Mishandles Licenses."

Nov. 18, 1988, "Government Had Edge In Weapon Plant Suits."

Nov. 28, 1988, "Trouble at Atomic Bomb Plants: How Lawmakers Missed the Signs."

Dec. 7, 1988, "Wide Threat Seen In Contamination At Nuclear Units: U.S. Cites 155 Instances."

Dec. 8, 1988, "Waste Dumping That U.S. Banned Went On at Its Own Atom Plants."

Dec. 11, 1988, "Fear Is Corroding Faith At Nuclear Bomb Plants."

*April 9, 1992, "Report Lists 45,000 Potential Radioactive Sites."