I’m pretty sure I saw this movie at the drive-in when I was a kid: Radioactive wasp stings the family mutt morphing it into a 40-foot tall slobbering monster that terrorizes small town America for days until the local sheriff accidentally discovers that it can only be destroyed by Grape Kool-Aid. The kids get a new dog in the end and everybody, except the town drunk, who was fatally bitten in the first scene and several bit players, lives happily after.
Okay, maybe that was just my imagination, but it coulda happened. On Friday the Republicans released their innovative energy plan that includes the building of 100 new nuclear power plants over the next 20 years. According to the science-doubting wizards of the GOP, nuclear power is clean, green and non-polluting. On the same day, by coincidence I’m sure, the Tri-City Herald released a report on a plan to remove the top soil from acres of land at the Hanford superfund site to destroy radioactive wasp nests. The nests were created during an earlier cleanup effort in 2003 when a radioactive basin that once contained contaminated fuel was hosed down to reduce blowing dust. The watered soil provided a ready source of mud for the wasps to use in building nests. Luckily they have an on-site disposal area for radioactive wasp nests at Hanford. No wasps will be harmed in the cleanup.
The Hanford site was created in the 1940s as part of the Manhattan Project. Hanford provided plutonium for the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki and produced weapons-grade fuel for decades. The 586 square mile site was shuttered in the 1980s and is now part of the most massive nuclear waste cleanup in the nation. Cleanup costs are expected to run over $50 billion and last for many more years.
I doubt that there is much danger of radioactive killer wasps spreading out over the country and providing fodder for a 1950s-movie-style cataclysm, but you might want to keep your dog indoors for the next few weeks just in case. The absurdity of the GOP energy plan and this report being released at the same time should however, give us all just a small concern as to the supposed safety of adding 100 new nuclear power plants and all the associated mining, milling, processing and storage. Does anybody know where I can get Sting Stopper in the gallon size?