Officials squabble as underground fire burns near radioactive waste dump in St. Louis area

Officials squabble as underground fire burns near radioactive waste dump in St. Louis area:

And you thought CENTRALIA was a big story!? That town only had a little around 2,000 people when the government forced all to move because of an underground mine fire–mine included. 

And with the personal history I can pen about a town on fire, it’s with particular interest that I read this story from the LATIMES written by Matt Pearce.. 

Giving all credit to Pearce for his words describing the troubling situation, this:

A fire is smoldering beneath a landfill in a densely populated suburb of St. Louis — and it has been there for five years.

Underground landfill fires, or “smoldering events” as some officials call them, aren’t rare. What makes the fire at the landfill in Bridgeton, Mo., so unusual is that it’s less than a quarter of a mile from a large deposit of nuclear waste — with no barrier in its way.

The radioactive legacy of St. Louis’ role in the World War II atomic weapons program has unleashed Cold War-style nuclear paranoia in the area, as some residents debate what kind of gas masks to buy or whether to move away.

When you read more on the subject, you realize that state, local, and federal officials are not in agreement whatsoever about what type of threat this would hold for St. Louis and if it even poses a threat at all.. Sort of like Centralia’s story, scientists and residents are arguing over whether the underground fire is even moving..

More from Pearce: 

Even if the underground fire eventually burns out without any problems, the radioactive dump could cause trouble, according to Ed Smith, the safe-energy director for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

“Either the government puts together a plan for the removal of the radioactive material in a way that is done as safely as possible,” Smith said, “or at some point in the future, I can say with some confidence that a flood, fire, earthquake, tornado, what have you, is going to move this radioactive material and other contaminants at the landfill in a way we cannot control.”

I am not an expert. Never claimed to be. But I will say this: The fire will not burn out. History of underground fires sort of showcase that.

And this fire, so close to radioactive materials, needs broad attention in a quick manner.

…because what’s the alternative…..