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Louis County, in violation of federal standards; they contained an estimated 43,000 tons of radioactive uranium processing wastes and contaminated soil.Now under the national news media spotlight, a landfill adjoined to the West Lake dump has experienced a growing underground fire for the past five years.More On July 16, 1973, 28 years to the day after the first nuclear weapon was exploded at Alamogordo, New Mexico, a line of dump trucks containing the detritus from the uranium used to make plutonium for the test bomb showed up at the West Lake landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri.Assuming the trucks were loaded with clean fill, the landfill superintendent waved them through without charging a dumping fee.A clear indication of the spread of contamination from the site was one overriding fact: Nearly all the radioactive samples we gathered had distinctive characteristics of material processed at the Mallinckrodt Plant. By 1946, the Mallinckrodt plant had run out of storage room and started trucking waste to land at the St.Louis airport, where it sat exposed to the elements for nearly two decades.If these wastes were sitting on the Energy Department's Hanford site in Washington state—which is also close to significant numbers of people and a major drinking water supply—their removal, isolation, and disposal would be high priorities.
In the 1960s, researchers for the Atomic Energy Commission’s Mound Laboratory near Dayton, Ohio determined that the waste residues sitting at the St.
In the first place, these wastes, which will become increasingly more radioactive for at least 1,000 years, should have never been dumped without regard to federal law and then allowed to sit there for more than four decades.