The Hanford Nuclear Reservation Pretty Much Sums Up Everything

I found a paragraph that neatly encapsulates industrial civilization, from this story on NPR:

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington state is set to lose $182 million due to federal budget cuts known as the sequester. The cuts come just after news that six tanks full of radioactive waste are leaking. Those tanks are filled with millions of gallons of the most toxic nuclear waste on Earth and are not far from the Northwest’s iconic Columbia River.

It’s got everything: a stagnant, insulated oligarchy, the hidden premise of the inevitability of unavoidable externalized costs (in this case, fish in the river), the sacrifice of living human and nonhuman beings for the sake of First-World luxuries, the reckless stupidity of producing a substance that will kill us all and that can never be fully contained, and the pedestrian, casual reporting of said destruction, as if it’s simply to be assumed. Our culture poisons land and rivers so that no life can remain there. Ho hum, nothing to see here…

Here’s a little piece about nuclear power I wrote a while ago. For a longer and much better critique, read In the Absence of the Sacred by Jerry Mander. “No notion more completely confirms our technological somnambulism,” he writes, “than the idea that technology contains no inherent political bias.”

Toxic waste we can never ameliorate, let alone get rid of (plans were to ship this particular poison to New Mexico!) is not really a byproduct so much as the logical end result of our culture, which is apparently fine with not only killing humans as collateral damage in the pursuit of GDP but also fine with taking all other species down with it.

To question the production of a substance that will kill everything in its path and that can never be broken down or discarded, all in the name of air conditioning, is, in this culture, deemed to be “unrealistic.” That fact alone demonstrates the insanity of our culture.

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One thought on “The Hanford Nuclear Reservation Pretty Much Sums Up Everything

  1. Pingback: The Only Way to Win Is Not to Play | Coming Soon: A Vast Desert

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