begin quote:YAKIMA, Wash. – If workers cleaning up the nation's most contaminated nuclear site didn't have enough to worry about, now they've got to deal with radioactive wasp nests. Mud dauber wasps built the nests, which have been largely abandoned by their flighty owners, in holes at south-central Washington's Hanford nuclear reservation in 2003.
That's when workers finished covering cleaned-up waste sites with fresh topsoil, native plants and straw to help the plants grow — inadvertently creating perfect ground cover for the insects to build their nests. Nearby cleanup work also provided a steady supply of mud, which the wasps used as building material.
Today, the nests, which could number in the thousands, are "fairly highly contaminated" with radioactive isotopes, such as cesium and cobalt, but don't pose a significant threat to workers digging them up.
"You don't know what you're going to run into, and this is probably one of the more unusual situations," said Todd Nelson, spokesman for Washington Closure Hanford, the contractor hired to clean up the area under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Energy.
As for the wasps themselves, they're largely long gone — the insects don't reuse their nests when they colonize each spring.end quote.
What next? When those radioactive wasps hatched their young out of radioactive nests did the birds and insects who ate them get radioactive too? Were any of those birds (or anything else that ate those wasps also then eaten by humans. And since it takes only one particle of radioactive dust in one person's lung to kill them slowly over 25 or more years this is something to think about. However, it is just another part of the radioactive legacy in places like Hanford.
My son and I were exploring the world on Google Earth and amazed just how detailed it has become. Even area 51 is there clearly to see and all the underground nuclear test sites that were turned instantly to underground glass sphered caves underground nearby. There were even detailed charts of the 7% of all Americans that were exposed in one of those tests in 1962, especially in Iowa and points east of the Nevada underground testing sites. I think even John Wayne and Maureen O'hara eventually died from radioactive dust from one of the dusty cowboy movies they made together east of the Nevada Test sites.
So, radioactive wasps are important and there could be dozens of people potentially that ate birds that ate seriously radioactive wasps and could be dying slowly right now from it and not know it.
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