Scientist says Radiation Rising on Columbia Riverby Associated Press
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - October 20, 2003
RICHLAND -- A maverick scientist who once sent radioactive jam to Washington's governor claims radiation is on the rise near salmon spawning areas in the Columbia River.
Norm Buske says he's detected radium-225, a decay product of uranium-233, in the Hanford Reach, where 80 percent of the Columbia's fall chinook salmon spawn.
Scientists from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and the state Health Department dispute Buske's report, published last week with a grant from the Government Accountability Project, an organization of nuclear critics that defends government whistle-blowers.
Debra McBaugh, a radiation specialist with the Washington Department of Health, noted that the sampling methods Buske used in his latest study are not standard and have not been reviewed by peers.
Buske grabbed national headlines in 1990, when he shipped two jars of "hot" mulberry jam affixed with radiation warning labels to then-Gov. Booth Gardner and U.S. Energy Secretary James Watkins.
The berries came from an area along the Columbia near N Reactor, where radioactive strontium-90 from Hanford ground water was entering the river.
His latest work concerns a Cold War program that produced uranium-233 for nuclear weapons.
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