Health & Enviroment Issue Possed by Divine Strake
The NTS was reported to be clean by the Department of Energy which oversees the area. The Native Americans and environmental groups disagreed with this and filed the lawsuit to stop the test. They gave two reasons that the ground zero (GZ) for Divine Strake was contaminated. One reason was that six above-ground nuclear tests at Yucca Flat produced fallout that traveled westerly over the area of the proposed test. One of those tests deliberately dispersed Plutonium (Pu-239). This radioactive substance is possibly the most dangerous public health concern that could re-enter the air currents.
The Department of Energy (DOE) estimated that the publics exposure to Pu-239 would be within the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) safe limits. There are several reasons to believe that this is not correct. Coulomb-B, the name of the explosion that dispersed pure Pu-239 into the air currents, put out more Pu-239 than a real warhead would have done, because a warhead splits the Pu-239 into isotopes. Pu-239 is so dangerous that only a microscopic amount, if inhaled, would almost certainly cause cancer. The area designated for Divine Strake is definitely contaminated with Pu-239.
The second contamination is from leaked radiation from several of six underground nuclear tests conducted from 1962 to 1971. This radioactivity was leaked for several days and contaminated the surface soil. Another of the six tests released a radio-iodine isotope cloud that traveled over the Divine Strake GZ area.
The environmental repercussions of this contamination are vast. Wind-swept dust has reached the U.S. from China and North African pollutants have reached Florida. There is every reason to believe that these deadly radioactive toxins would travel to the East Coast of North America and beyond. This is just the radioactive toxins. There are more that would be contained in the cloud including two tons of cyanide, 1,535 pounds of phosgene (a carcinogen used as chemical warfare in World War I), 1,318 pounds of methylene chloride and 2,387 pounds of carbon tetrachloride, both carcinogens and 1,650 pounds of chlorine.
Some people believe that the DOE knew how much radioactive material was in the ground at Diving Strake GZ and had the plan to see how far it traveled after detonation. If this were the case, there would need to be a plan for measuring the dust clouds movements. As it happened, the DOE provided the Nevada Bureau of Air Pollution Control with plans in May 2006 for a strategy to monitor the air. It would have placed 14 high-volume air samplers in locations where anticipated wind patterns would be after the explosion. In this case, American citizens would be used as test cases to know where the fallout would go after using a ‘bunker buster’ in Iran. The downwind area would mainly be Iran, Pakistan and China.
After cancellation in early 2007 of Divine Strake, the Department of Defense requested the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which had supported Divine Strake, to create a computer simulation of the test. They used data from a small nuclear explosion in 1978.
The killing of the unkillable Divine Strake has possibly saved thousands of lives from cancer and immune and neurological diseases. There are not very many studies to determine and document the loss and suffering of those who live downwind of any nuclear fallout.