Thursday, July 12, 2007

Corrosive Evil

" The year 1965 witnessed the corrosive evil of a nuclear bomb explosion on a National Wildlife Refuge. Life, ecology, evolutionary processes; all essential features of the worldwide heritage of mankind, to which a National Wildlife Refuge is and ought to be devoted were violated. October 29, at precisely 1100 AST an 80 kiloton bomb was exploded 2300 feet underground 0n Amchitka Island, and now a large deposit of radioactive wastes occupies a cavern on the Refuge. The bomb people estimate the top of this cavern to be approximately 1000 feet below the surface. In an area of continuing seismic activity this may not be enough. With Bering Sea just 5000 feet away and two streams leading directly to it from the bomb site the probability of contamination is high. This chronicle, though, relieved with accounts of life and living processes must be the melancholy tale of a triumph of the forces of destruction."

From the 1965 US Fish and Wildlife Service Aleutian Islands National Wildlife Refuge and Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Annual Narrative Report.

I've spent the day at ARLIS going through the last 40 years worth of these things for work. I was working my way backwards, and when I came upon this passage, the introduction, on the cover page...I found myself momentarily in shock.

I knew these things happened. I even knew that a nuclear device had been detonated on Amchitka. For some reason (not that it makes it any better) I thought it was longer ago-- WWII or immediately there after.

To see it laid out this way saddened me. It reminded me of the destruction of which we are capable, and of which we have inflicted.

Nukes aren't cool.

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