Radioactive Trojan Horse Buried at Hanford

RICHLAND, WA -- The Trojan Horse of ancient history was loaded with dangerous killers that poured out of an oversized spectacle. With the shallow burial of the defunct Trojan reactor core near the Columbia River, the NRC has committed a deadly copycat crime.

In time, the radioactive isotopes inside Trojan's core -- and those of 79 other reactors buried at the government's Hanford site -- will leak into the aquifer. Nevertheless, the shipment of the two-million-pound time bomb through the heart of metropolitan Portland and up river was hailed as "safe," "gentle" and "smooth" -- perhaps because it was shrink-wrapped in blue plastic.

In fact, Trojan was an abysmal failure of engineering and economics, shut down 20 years early because of radiation accidents, an inoperable safety system, earthquake danger and cracked steam tubes too costly to replace. Opponents of the burial had demanded that the NRC wait 100 years for the hottest radioactive isotopes to cool before moving the core through population centers on a barge.

--The Oregonian, Aug. 4, 1999;
New York Times, Aug. 7, 1999;
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Aug. 9, 1999.