Girl Planting seeds

'If there's a spill, it's a disaster': living next to a giant lake of radioactive waste

The rose bush in Shirley Melancon’s front yard used to bloom full and pink, but recently she noticed the flowers from the 100-year old plant are coming in white and shriveled. She doesn’t know why this is, but it’s difficult not to wonder if there’s a link to the sprawling radioactive waste storage structure that sits less than a mile from her tidy cottage in the fourth district of St James Parish, Louisiana. It is a gargantuan manmade 960-acre lake containing hundreds of millions of gallons of toxic, radioactive water that sits on top of a 200ft pile of waste byproduct, an enormous, chalky white wall that makes the bulldozers and cranes atop look like children’s toys. The massive white mound is shaped like a giant bathtub, formed with a naturally radioactive element called phosphogypsum and filled with toxic cargo. It has reshaped the horizon in this parish, which has transitioned from a center of slavery, to black-owned farmland, to an industrial corridor.  Read more....



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