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Radioactive Rabbit Trapped

Authorities at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in the state of Washington have captured a rabbit that sipped water contaminated by radioactivity:

A radioactive rabbit was trapped on the Hanford nuclear reservation, but there is no sign any people were exposed to the animal.

Washington state Health Department workers with the Office of Radiation Protection have been searching for contaminated rabbit droppings.[...]

The rabbit trapped at the 300 Area caught the Health Department's attention because it was close enough to the site's boundaries to potentially come in contact with people - if it had been caught by a dog or if its droppings were deposited in an area open to the public.


http://www.komonews.com/news/local/106768873.html via Ace of Spades HQ | Image: MGM

I used to work in the 300 Area at Hanford back in the 80's and 90's, and catching radioactive rabbits was a common occurrence. Tye used to send the Hanford Patrol out once a week to do a "wildlife survey" (a euphemism for shooting a couple of rabbits or other small game) and then doing an analysis of the radioactivity of the carcass. They small game out there is *always* radioactive, and has been for decades.

They even post signs warning hunters not to eat any game they shoot there. (Hunters aren't event supposed to be on that land, but it's a huge area and people can and do sneak on to it from time to time.)
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> Wow...how sad.

Yeah, there's not much to like about it, that's for sure. They used to store LLRW (low-level rad waste) in open drainage ditches and containment ponds, but I don't know if they still do that now. The birds and small game would drink from the LLRW ditches and over time accumulated some of the sparkly stuff. We used to joke about "glow-in-the-dark dinners" at the local restaurants.

I saw a lot of interesting stuff out there, but it was a hard place to work. :(
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> And how do they keep the birds out?

I hope you're joking. :)

There's no way to keep wildlife out of the 200 or 300 Areas. It's a very big area, mostly desert and scrub land. They come, they consume the water, and they ingest some radioactivity. It's unavoidable at this point.
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