A little known fact about Illinois is that it is one of the most nuclear states in the country. In December 1942, at the University of Chicago, Enrico Fermi initiated the first atomic chain reaction in history. Thus began the atomic age.
Illinois became home to the first commercial power reactor, which was ultimately shut down, along with several others around the state.
Illinois currently has eleven operating nuclear plants, an area of concern following reports of a recent radiation exposure of over a dozen workers at a nuclear dump in New Mexico. This site, as the sites in Illinois, marks the struggle of what to do to dispose of Cold War-era waste.
The facility underground in New Mexico exposed workers during a night shift and was ultimately shut down to allow an investigation about the cause and health effects on workers.
Illinois is just one state watching this incident closely, as it raises questions regarding the Energy Department’s billions of dollars a year efforts to clean up waste leftover from the 50’s nuclear bomb fabrication.
Transportation of almost 4,000 barrels of toxic waste have been halted along with other waste from labs in Idaho, South Carolina and Illinois.
It is a hot, political dilemma, rife with controversy over what to do about dumping nuclear waste. Some storage tanks at various states have been determined to have construction flaws, posing imminent danger to construction crew, like the radiation leak in New Mexico. It could happen here.
Many officials say the effects of absorption of radioactive material on workers is unknown and won’t be documented until more data starts coming in. Preliminary tests show some chemicals stay in bones, muscles and vital organs for years as it continues to expose other parts of the body to radiation, increasing the risk of cancer.
Wrongful death, construction negligence or work-related injuries are more common than we realize. In light of the typical ones that make the news, the state of Illinois looks with concern to all areas where accidents or hazards are present on the job. If you or a loved one have been exposed to employment negligence, you have rights under the law to seek possible compensation and protection from health risks on the job.
Source: Mohave Valley Daily News, “N.M. radiation leaks raises concerns” No author given, Mar. 02, 2014