Time is short for communities in the South Kansas City area who are demanding that the United States’ National Nuclear Security Administration take action to clear out nuclear waste dumped at The Bannister Federal Complex Facility, which has been the source of many health problems for onsite workers for years.
As mentioned in the video, at the time of the 41-KSHB investigation, there was no proof that the illnesses were connected. However, communities and activists still demand that it be looked into.
The focus on the contamination at the plant has only increased with the help of the Alliance For Nuclear Accountability, a group of organizations in the Kansas City area which, according to the Kansas City Star, held a meeting on the 5th of November asking the government to take action.
The 300-acre Kansas City site was originally a racetrack in the early half of the 20th century before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which was then developed into a plant to manufacture airplane engines for World War II by the Truman administration, before it became a disposal site for various contractors from the forties into the sixties.
After this, ownership of the Kansas City plant was divided between the General Services Administration (GSA), which provides general services to all federal agencies and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), established in 2000 to handle nuclear weapons non-proliferation.
The site was and is currently operated by Honeywell, which employs people to work for the NNSA, a independent department of the Department Of Energy, to build non-nuclear technologies which make up 85 percent of the components that go into a nuclear weapon.
In 2012, the GSA announced that all agencies housed at that site would be relocated elsewhere, according to the same source of the ongoing investigation, 41-KSHB.
In that report, GSA spokesman Angela Brees provided more details on the move.
“All employees are moving out of the Bannister Federal Complex before the end of 2014 and will relocate more than 1,000 employees to a location in downtown Kansas City. We are in the process of determining our size and site requirements.”
It is also noted in the Kansas City based news source that the officials would be looking for buyers for the site, which could have caused them to delay their plans as the official GSA site webpage provides updated information saying that the deadline is for the end of 2015.
In reference to article by the Kansas City Star, a previous employee who secured compensation for previous employees, Maurice Copeland, does not believe that the government will not take action to clean the site, which they had reportedly been trying to do for four years.
“They cannot clean that place up and they will not clean it up.”
There is even more concern that the radioactive waste from the site might have spread from its landfill to the Bridgeton landfill nearby which has reportedly had a underground fire burning since 2010.
In the video provided by CBS Evening News, reporter Vinita Nair states that this is a scenario that has never happened before, but at least one such case has, which involves a underground fire in Centralia, Pennsylvania.
It is reportedly also a underground fire, which has ignited coal mines and has been burning since the 60’s, causing random sinkholes to appear in the town. That fire resulted in the evacuation of the majority of the town’s residents, potentially an option for the citizens of South Kansas City, if the scenario of nuclear waste catching fire does become an issue.
In 2013, it was reported by the News Tribune that the developer Centerpoint Properties would demolish the building at the beginning of 2016, which is also has the community on edge as well as other environmental groups, that they will not follow through to clean the site as promised and instead; covering up the landfill.
The concern here is that it will created long term health problems for local Kansas City residents.
[Featured Image by National Nuclear Security Administration via Flickr is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0) License]