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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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ニューズウィークも忘れないで

 
日本語版はそこそこの存在感を示していますが、最近すっかり陰が薄くなっているNewsweek。次にニュースを騒がせるとしたら月刊化とかなんでしょうか。

ニューヨークタイムズの編集長を取り上げたときに、ニューリパブリックという雑誌でのインタビューをご紹介しましたが、そのときにI didn’t even know there was a Newsweek. - Me neither. Or a cover.なんてボロクソに言われていました。

A Q&A With Jill Abramson
The Times' top editor on mean bosses, liberal biases, and the demise of the Washington Post
BY MICHAEL KINSLEY

Michael Kinsley: So I understand Newsweek scooped me. They had you on the cover, with an article by Lloyd Grove. I didn’t even know there was a Newsweek.
Jill Abramson: Me neither. Or a cover.
MK: Or a Lloyd Grove for that matter.
JA: Well, I knew there was a Lloyd Grove.

自分もTimeやEconomist以外にNewsweekを購読しようとは思いませんが、先週号は日本人なら興味を引かれてしまう特集記事がありました。7000字を超える長い者ですが、長崎に投下した原爆の原料を作った原子炉があったハンフォードでの核廃棄物の処理が遅々として進んでいない現状が分かる読み応えのあるものでした。

(ウィキペディア)
ハンフォード・サイト(英語: the Hanford Site)は米国ワシントン州東南部にある場所で、原子爆弾作成のマンハッタン計画でプルトニウムの精製が行われた所。その後の冷戦期間にも精製作業は続けられ、現在はこの作業は行われていないが、米国で最大級の核廃棄物の問題を残しており、その処理が継続されている。


America’s Fukushima
By Alexander Nazaryan

The reactor on these desiccated steppes converted uranium-238 into plutonium-239, the fissionable stuff inside the Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The ensuing Cold War escalation was a boon for the engineers and workers at Hanford, with eight more reactors built throughout the subsequent two decades. Only one of them - completed in 1963 and visited by John F. Kennedy two months before his assassination - was ever harnessed to produce energy. The rest worked solely to enrich nuclear materiel for rockets intended to fend off a Soviet assault that never materialized.

The last of those nine reactors was decommissioned in 1987, inaugurating an era that would prove even more lucrative for those who sought to make Hanford their livelihood: cleaning up the waste left behind from four decades of making nuclear weapons. The Atomic Energy Commission had by now become the Department of Energy, and it presented a daunting challenge to contractors: 177 underground storage tanks (the bucolically named "Tank Farms") holding 56 million gallons of waste that included radionuclides like strontium-90 and cesium-137.

センセーショナルにAmerica’s Fukushimaとありますが、福島のような事故に結びつく可能性は低いようです。

The risks of a Fukushima-type disaster are incredibly slight, and those who make the comparison caution against a literal interpretation of their warnings. Yet the consequences of such a mishap would be so catastrophic that it cannot be allowed to happen. The Tokyo Electric Power Company was not worried about an earthquake causing a tsunami, and that tsunami in turn flooding and disabling a nuclear power plant on the eastern coast of the island of Honshu. Much later, a panel would find "collusion" between the Fukushima Daiichi plant operators and government regulators, as well as "ignorance and arrogance" and a "disregard for public safety."

Tamosaitis calls Hanford an example of "corporate welfare," in which Bechtel is stringing along the federal government as it moves completion dates further and further into the future, all for the supposed sake of the very safety issues it has repeatedly ignored. As long as nothing horrific happens, he says, the money will flow. Tamosaitis sums up Bechtel's strategy as "delay, delay, delay, deny."

Nobody really knows if Hanford has made people sick. Locals refer to the "Hanford necklace" - "a thyroidectomy scar that distinguishes many of the downwinders whose diseased thyroid glands were removed," as the Associated Press once described it. Yet the Hanford Thyroid Disease Study did not find an association between the release of iodine-131 during the 1940s and 1950s and an increase in cancers of the thyroid gland, thus discounting a major illness related with radiation exposure.

That is only one cancer dismissed, however, and maladies from the past aren't the most pressing concern here anyway. It's what remains in the ground that worries the likes of Carpenter, the Seattle watchdog. He says of Hanford: "We've opened a Pandora's box that we can't put the lid back on." Behind him, the city settles comfortably into dusk.

予定通り進んでいない現状を密告した社員を窓際に追いやってしまうという部分を読むと組織なんてどこも似たり寄ったりだなと思ってしまいます。

And he was. On July 2, Tamosaitis was told that he was being transferred to URS headquarters in downtown Richland. URS tells Newsweek that his "reassignment had been discussed with him for several months prior to June 2010, as his work scope on the project was coming to an end," a position seconded by Bechtel, which says he had been offered a job at Sellafield in England.

Tamosaitis says the transfer was retaliation. "They wanted to send a signal" to other potential whistle-blowers: "Don't do what that guy did."

Tamosaitis was buried in a basement office with two copiers, one of which was "used to compile large documents," he told Congress. "I brought in a pair of earmuffs to dampen the sound when it was running." One time, with a snowstorm approaching, everyone else left the building without bothering to tell him. He jokes that when he emerged from the basement into a silent office in the middle of the afternoon, he thought the rapture had come.

“the situation is under control.”というのは簡単ですが、予定通り着実に実行する事は大変難しいのだなと実感できるものでした。記事の本筋とは関係ありませんが地元の高校のフットボールチームがRichland Bombersという名前であり、原爆製造とゆかりがあり、それを誇らしく思っていたという心情が読み取れるエピソードがさりげなく紹介されていました。動画だとよく分かりませんが、ヘルメットにはきのこ雲が書かれています。



The Richland High School football team at practice. In the fall of 1945, after an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, students changed the team's mascot to a mushroom cloud and called themselves the 'Bombers'. Credit: Stuart Isett

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