Energy hope solo

Published on July 13th, 2011 | by Rhonda Winter


Nuclear Power, Japan and Hope

Japan’s national soccer team has just beaten Sweden, and will face off against the United States team on Sunday for the World Cup. I have never been much of a sports fan, but this women’s international soccer tournament has completely captured me. Regardless of who wins the championship, it promises to be an excellent game.

Hope Solo
Washington’s own Hope Solo will play against Japan in the World Cup final

The United States national soccer team’s dramatic come back in Germany last week against Brazil in the last seconds of the game is the stuff that legends are made of. The performance of the U.S. goalie, the aptly named Hope Solo, was also utterly awe-inspiring. Solo is a working class kid from Richland, Washington; which is also the home of the decommissioned Hanford Nuclear Site, the most contaminated nuclear waste site in the western hemisphere.

Hanford Nuclear site

I am somewhat obsessed with the Hanford site, and just found out that there are actually public tours of the facility. Tons of spent nuclear fuel rods are stored there, and some entity must pay billions of dollars over time to somehow continue safely maintaining all of that dangerous nuclear waste for thousands of years.

Why are these purely economic costs (to say nothing of the gargantuan environmental expenses) consistently never factored into the price of nuclear energy? Nuclear power has to be the most dangerous, toxic, stupid and deadly method of boiling water that our species has ever devised.

some of the spent nuclear fuel rods at the Hanford site
Underwater spent nuclear fuel rods are stored uncapped in Hanford’s K-East Basin

Considering the horrific disasters wrought upon Japan in the last few months, including the various nuclear reactor meltdowns at Fukushima, the Japanese team is definitely the emotional favorite to win Sunday’s final game. I don’t really care which team is victorious in the soccer match; it is most satisfying to see both inspired girls, as well as dudes enthusiastically supporting women playing sports.

Nuclear Meltdown vs. Amazing Women Playing Soccer

Mostly I am just grateful and appreciative of the brief respite that these exciting soccer games have provided my brain from fixating upon the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns, as well as the billions of tons of poisonous nuclear waste that we have already created. Although, even with the distraction of Hope Solo and the World Cup, I still can not stop thinking about how we will ever be able to possibly keep that much highly radioactive toxic material “safe” for thousands of years to come.

images via Wikipedia

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About the Author

was raised by wolves, and subsequently has difficulty interacting with other humans; she can also be found on and Twitter.

  • ejf5039

    The Hanford Site was a government run site which produced nuclear weapons, not a commercial nuclear power plant. The used nuclear reactors to produce weapon grade materials in the construction of weapons. Before you criticize nuclear power as a whole, get your facts straight about comparing commercial nuclear power and the issues at Hanford.

  • rhondawinter


    My facts are correct; and I have been in contact with some of the people who manage the Hanford Site, all of whom have been very helpful. There are massive amounts of dangerous spent nuclear waste stored at the Hanford Site, which has to somehow be kept stable for thousands of years. Dealing with all nuclear waste was my primary argument against nuclear power as a whole, the impossibility of maintaining such large amounts of spent fuel rods and waste safely.

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