The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America: An Interview with Joshua Frank

Purchase Atomic Days from CounterPunch.

Joshua Frank has written a powerful, extraordinary, must-read book, Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America. In it, he exposes how the Hanford Site, a nuclear production complex set up along the Columbia River in the State of Washington by the Manhattan Project, and “has produced nearly on the radioactive fuel used in the nuclear arsenal of the United States,” is “laced with huge amounts of radioactive gunk” and “is a ticking time bomb that could erupt at any given moment, creating a nuclear Chernobyl-like explosion, resulting in a singular tragedy that would be unlike anything the United States has ever experienced.”

The cost of cleaning up Hanford “keep escalating” with the U.S. Department of Energy currently estimating “the job could run between $316 billion and $677 billion. Today, $2.6 billion are being spent annually.” Frank declares: “If the U.S. public were made aware of the risks Hanford radioactive waste posed, we would surely question the validity of resurrecting the noxious nuclear power industry which is now being heralded as a key weapon…in the fight against climate change.” Frank, managing editor of the investigative website CounterPunch, is “hopeful that with a bit of knowledge about what is really going on at Hanford—which involves a true reckoning with its dreadful past” a movement can arise “to demand transparency, accountability, and radical change. The matter is vitally important to the future of the planet, to Hanford’s Indigenous population, and to every U.S. citizen who is paying for it. Because its radioactive threat is not only immediate: it’s long-lasting and of atomic proportions.”

Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, and is the author of the book, The Wrong Stuff: The Space’s Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet, and the Beyond Nuclear handbook, The U.S. Space Force and the dangers of nuclear power and nuclear war in space. Grossman is an associate of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.