Radioactive rabbit trapped and killed at Hanford nuclear reservation

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RICHLAND, WASHINGTON (BNO NEWS) — A radioactive rabbit on Friday was killed and disposed as nuclear waste after been trapped at the Hanford nuclear reservation near Richland, Washington, the Tri-city Herald reported.

Department of Health workers caught the rabbit on Thursday and began combing the area for rabbit droppings. The rabbit was found close enough to the nuclear reservation’s boundaries and could have become a public hazard if he was caught by a dog or its droppings were deposited in a public area.


Contaminated animals are not uncommon in the area as it was the site used by the government to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons during the Manhattan Project. After the Cold War, Hanford is now one of the most contaminated nuclear sites in the U.S.

Officials believe that the rabbit drank water left from the recent demolition of a Cold War-era building used in the production of nuclear weapons. Several rabbits were trapped and one was found to be highly contaminated with radioactive cesium.

Last week, Washington Closure Hanford, the Department of Energy contractor cleaning up Hanford in the 300 Area, found the contaminated rabbit droppings. In 2009, another radioactive rabbit caused a thorough search for its droppings that even involved helicopters.

Washington Closure has taken measures to keep animals from the demolished building. A chain-link fence was set up and vegetation was removed. In addition, the perimeter of the building was scented with fox urine to discourage animals that attempt to trespass.

This is not the first case of radioactive animals in Hanford. In 2009, 33 contaminated animals or animal materials such as droppings were found on the site. Recently, radioactive wasp nests were found spread across six acres by H reactor.

Last year, the U.S. Congress allocated approximately $2 billion for the 2009 stimulus bill to fund cleansing efforts in Hanford.

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