Weldon Spring is an EPA Superfund cleanup site right outside of St. Louis. There was a uranium processing plant there in the 50s. In the 70s, Gary's high school biology class went to Weldon Spring to observe the two-headed frogs and learn about radiation.
We'd lived ten miles away for a decade before the EPA finally cleaned it up in 2000 or so. Now, it's so clean it's a tourist site. Really, there's a Tripadvisor entry for it. We went Sunday to see the containment cell and the museum.
First of all, I was expecting at least a photo of a two-headed frog. No luck. There was a reference to "frog pond," but that was it.
They contained the radiation with layers of plastic, dirt, filters, and seven stories worth of rocks.
The view from the top of the cell would be impressive, only, all you can see is every water tower in St. Charles county, plus an elementary school, and a high school. I know three people who went to that high school, and yes, they all have cancer.
We came down from the top of the cell a little horrified to see how close everything is to the radiation. That's why it was nice, at first, when the museum had a tone of "Well, this is the history, here's the problem, here's how we solved the problem, you're safe now and enjoy the view from the top of the big pile of rocks."
Only, of course, the photos in the museum are appalling. The Mallinckrodt company ran the plant, and when it closed they just packed the radioactive material in metal barrels and just let it sit out in the sun, rusting. Alarming. And frankly, not what I'd expect from Mallinckrodt, nice Irish firm that they are. They're usually dwarfed in evil by big brother Monsanto, located here in St. Louis.
I'm sure I would have enjoyed the radiation cell much more if I were a tourist, and didn't grow up in Hazelwood, yet another site tainted by Mallinckrodt.
I don't know if the side effects of nuclear waste are to blame for this sign: