From: Bruce Sterling []
Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2000 1:18 PM
To: Viridian List
Subject: Viridian Note 00157: Atomic Greenhouse Fires

Key concepts: Los Alamos, Chernobyl, forest fires,
Viridian Disasters

Attention Conservation Notice: We Viridians will patiently compile these aberrant horrors until we finally hit on the "Rock Hudson of the Greenhouse Effect."

Entries in the Greenhouse Disaster Symbol contest:
This contest expires May 31, 2000.

Source: Reuters, May 15, 02000

"A-Bomb Birthplace Burns Down

"LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (Reuters) A complex of historic buildings where scientists assembled the first atomic bomb during World War Two has been consumed by a wildfire that has raged for over a week, the Los Alamos National Laboratory said on Monday.

"The complex where scientists worked on the top- secret Manhattan Project to build the bomb was destroyed in the fire except for one building, the laboratory said in a statement.

"Laboratory official Ternel Martinez said the destruction of the site was a severe blow to the 12,000 people who work at the U.S. nuclear weapons research facility in northern New Mexico.

"'Any time that anything of historical significance is lost it's a great tragedy,' he told Reuters. 'We're very proud of our past and anything that we could have kept to show the world our significant contribution to ending World War Two... whenever you lose that, it's very painful.'

(...) "Officials have also warned that the blaze, which started as a controlled burn to clear scrub bush, could burn for several more weeks. (...)"

(((Meanwhile, in other nuclear forest fire news:)))

Source: Associated Press, May 17, 02000

"WASHINGTON (AP) == A malfunction in a steam pipeline has forced officials at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine to cut power back 50 percent, even as forest fires spread the remnants of radiation from a 1986 disaster at the plant, a U.S. official said Wednesday. (...)

"There is no evidence of radiation as a result of the malfunction, the official told The Associated Press.

"But, at the same time, the official said, forest fires in the area had caused the circulation into the air of remnants of radiation in roots and stems of plants, with the result that the radiation level in Kiev was elevated slightly. (...)

"A cover for the plant was built after the disaster, but it is considered unstable. Some $360 million, in addition to 400 million already raised, is needed for the new cover.

"The Chernobyl disaster caused an estimated 4,000 deaths among those who took part in the cleanup and 70,000 people were disabled by radiation, according to Ukrainian government data."

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