Our government, at the federal, state, and local levels, is the single greatest polluter in the land.
I don't know if it's our
government that can make that claim, when Russian nuclear reactor and missile waste litters the ocean, many more of their nuclear submarines are rotting away in drydock, and nuclear waste sites abound:Russian nuclear waste in watery limbo
France's Nuclear Waste Heads to Russia
Until 1990, the Soviet Navy routinely dumped radioactive waste in Far Eastern and Arctic waters. ... between 1964 and 1991 the former Soviet Union dumped the total of 4,900 containers of solid nuclear waste in Arctic seas, and 6,868 containers in the Pacific. Furthermore, the Russian navy simply sank 57 vessels filled with nuclear waste. Sixteen decommissioned reactors were also sent to the deep, including six with unloaded fuel.
Of Russia's 150 decommissioned nuclear submarines, only 16 have been properly dismantled, ... The rest still have fuel in their reactors and are rusting away in Arctic and far eastern harbors, posing a threat to the environment. ... Many decommissioned submarines were in poor condition to begin with, and haven't had proper maintenance for a decade or more. Some are rusted through and are half-submerged, and many others may leak if an attempt is made to move them.
4,500 to 6,000 tonnes annually - is sent to Russia, where it undergoes "enrichment" to turn it back into fuel for nuclear power plants.
Except they can't seem to keep track of it:Nuclear Waste Piling Up at Russia's Overloaded Facilities
Russian nuclear waste dumped off Sweden
Security around Russian nuclear waste facilities is very low, they warn. Any country sending nuclear waste to Russia must understand that there is a high risk that the waste might end up in the hands of terrorists and could be used for weapons of mass destruction.
"Anyone who is able to pay some hundreds of Rubles (US$20-30) to the security guards, can get into the secured areas" at Mayak, they write. They explain that the social situation in many closed nuclear units and settlements near nuclear power plants is "socially unfavorable," for personnel. "Alcohol and drug addictions are widespread." In addition to these problems, smuggling of radioactive materials is taking place under the noses of customs officials, the authors say.
The Russian Northern Fleet Nuclear submarine accidents
Historically, the Soviet Union and Russia have disposed of radioactive waste in three ways: by dumping it into the Baltic and Arctic Seas as well as into the northern Pacific (primarily the Sea of Japan); by placing it in storage sites on the Kola Peninsula in the Russian North, and on the Shkotovo and Kamchatka Peninsulas in the Russian Far East; and by holding radioactive waste on storage ships servicing the Northern and Pacific fleets... These methods of radioactive waste disposal, coupled with a series of submarine accidents, have resulted in the contamination of naval facilities, as well as their surrounding environments. Continued contamination of the Arctic and northern Pacific regions poses a serious threat to marine ecology and could have significant economic and social costs for Russia, Japan, and the Scandinavian countries that maintain fisheries in these areas.
The nuclear submarine Komsomolets sank in the Norwegian Sea on April 7, 1989, south of Bear Island. The submarine sank with its reactor and two nuclear warheads on board, and lies at a depth of 1 685 metres.
...gamma radiation in the reactor compartment increased to 150 R/h. Radioactive gases were released to the reactor compartment from the safety buffer tank, and radiation on board the submarine increased. The reactor was shut down, and approximately 20% of the fuel assemblies were damaged. ... The entire submarine was scuttled in the Kara Sea in 1981.
... K-192 was laid up at the base facility in the Ara Bay until 1994 when it was towed to Navy yard No. 10 - Shkval. Compressed air is now pumped into the hull to maintain buoyancy. The fuel assemblies in the damaged reactor cannot be removed by standard procedures.
The list goes on... and on... and on, and that includes only what we know about.
And tree-huggers are worried about styrofoam cups.