You are correct. Part of the clean-up at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state has involved cleaning up the droppings of wild rabbits that live in the scrubby grasslands around the former plant, which produced much of the nation’s nuclear weapons material from the 1950s to the 1980s. Sound crazy? Well yes, until you learn that the reason rabbit droppings are a problem is because they’re radioactive. The wildlife around Hanford was affected by radiation from the plant and has spread it throughout the ecosystem. Even fish in the Columbia River have found to be radioactive. Hanford is probably going to be an excellent example of site clean-up for the future. As the rabbit poop example illustrates, scientists and federal officials supervising the cleanup are focusing not just on the big issues, but on every potential side-effect from a nuclear site.
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