Green Run - Hanford

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Overview


"Green Run" refers to a secret U.S. Air Force experiment at Washington State's Hanford Nuclear Reservation that released somewhere between 7,000 and 12,000 curies of iodine-131 into the air on December 2-3, 1949. The experiment was called the Green Run because it involved a processing "run" of uranium fuel that had been cooled for only a short time (16 days), and was, therefore, "green." The normal practice in 1949 was to cool the fuel 90 to 100 days before processing. The longer cooling time allows for radiation, especially iodine-131, to decay to lower levels.

The reported purpose of the Green Run was to test monitoring equipment the Air Force was developing for its intelligence activities concerning the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons program. The Green Run remained a top government secret until the 1980s when reports were made public in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. The requests were filed by the Hanford Education Action League and the newspaper The Spokesman-Review, both based in Spokane. The U.S. Air Force continues to withhold significant information about the Green Run including the names of the official(s) who ordered the experiment and the intelligence unit that participated in the monitoring. WA Department of Health - green run

The map is by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR I-131 exposure map) and shows the 10-rad dose area for children who were 0-4 years of age and 5-19 years of age in 1945 and between 1946 and 1951. The four tables list the towns within those exposure areas for the different age groups and periods of iodine-131 releases.

References


WA Department of Health - green run
ATSDR I-131 exposure map

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