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Topic: Climate & Pollution     Department: Letters

The half-life curse

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Hannah Nordhaus' excellent exposé "The Half-life of Memory" is troubling on many fronts, but none more so than the quote from Jim Kelly given by Wes McKinley (HCN, 2/16/09). As one of the plant engineers at Rocky Flats, Kelly's statement that "we didn't need to pollute like that" is an indictment of the whole sordid mess. That insanely toxic material wasn't given even the same level of protection that we routinely give gasoline underground storage tanks today. There should have been double-walled or, better yet, triple-walled containment for anything in contact with this material. How much pollution could have been prevented? It appears that the legacy of this ineptitude will carry on as we continue to experience the 24,000-year half-life curse.

James Lynch
Rahway, New Jersey

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