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N-site fire fears unfounded

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The fire near the Hanford, Wash., atomic energy works is apt to stir fear of wildfires strewing radioactivity from the nuclear waste storage at Skull Valley. Those fears are unrealistic.

I lived in Skull Valley for a few decades and on a number of occasions fought range fires with just a shovel. From that firefighting experience, I see no fire danger at the Skull Valley atomic waste site. Range fires are not fierce in such a desolate area. Sagebrush sends flames only about a yard. There is no juniper forest within miles of the place.

Let's say there was a range fire there, what would it do? Would it bum up to the edge of the concrete pad, ignite it and race across the pad burning concrete all the way and then ignite and burn the concrete and steel reactor rod containers sitting on the pad? No way.

The fire would burn up to the edge of the concrete pad and stop dead there. If there were a high wind, it would blow sparks out onto the pad, but steel and concrete do not burn; the sparks would simply die out.

Volney Wallace

Murray