2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 22 Apr 2002 17:34:13 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Missouri Messes
The following column, by Steve Mahfood, director of the Missouri
Department of Natural Resources, was published in the Editorial section
of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday, April 22, 2002.

This story was published in Editorial on Monday, April 22, 2002. 

By Steve Mahfood


* Missouri's role at the dawn of the nuclear age now requires a safe,
sustainable environmental cleanup.

It was the spring of 1942 - two years after German scientists first
confirmed the power from splitting atoms, and just a few months after
the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. The U.S. government was
desperate to develop an atomic bomb.

Under the gathering storm clouds of war, Dr. Arthur Compton, a Nobel
Laureate from Washington University, lunched on April 17 with Edward
Mallinckrodt Jr., head of the Mallinckrodt Chemical Co. Compton
explained why uranium was needed for the war effort. Like countless
patriotic Missourians before and since, Mallinckrodt agreed to help. By
December, Missouri workers had produced enough uranium to supply Enrico
Fermi's reactor in Chicago -- the first step in the Manhattan Project to
develop the atomic bomb.

 From that quiet lunch, Missouri's role in building the U.S. nuclear
arsenal expanded to include a decade of uranium production in downtown
St. Louis, uranium waste disposal at North County sites, another decade
of uranium production at the Weldon Spring site in St. Charles County
and a nuclear factory near Hematite in Jefferson County that supported
U.S. Navy nuclear submarines. Some work remains classified to this day.

Now we are facing the long-lived legacy of these nuclear weapons
operations. A dedicated crew at the Weldon Spring site has nearly
completed cleanup there. And since taking over the job in 1997, the Army
Corps of Engineers has made enormous progress in cleaning up the St.
Louis waste sites. The cleanup of the Hematite site is just beginning,
however. This delay brings with it tragic consequences to the families
whose wells have been tainted by the toxic leftovers of the federal
government's nuclear operations there.


For the entire piece, see


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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