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Radioactive Bees Alert

In: News

Posted By: Alfred K at 11:05 pm

11 Jun 2009

I would love to sting you showty

I would love to sting you showty

YAKIMA — If workers cleaning up the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site didn’t have enough to worry about, now they’ve got to deal with radioactive wasp nests.

Mud dauber wasps built the nests, which have been largely abandoned by their flighty owners, in holes at south-central Washington’s Hanford nuclear reservation in 2003.

That’s when workers finished covering cleaned-up waste sites with fresh topsoil, native plants and straw to help the plants grow — inadvertently creating perfect ground cover for the insects to build their nests. Nearby cleanup work also provided a steady supply of mud, which the wasps used as building material.

Today, the nests, which could number in the thousands, are “fairly highly contaminated” with radioactive isotopes, such as cesium and cobalt, but don’t pose a significant threat to workers digging them up.

One of the workers was able to look at the bright side of this conundrum. “You heard of spider man? He got bitten by a radioactive spider. I bet bee-man is going to be wayyyy cooler.” He proceeded to work without any protective gear.

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