HBO Documentary Atomic Homefront Focuses On Nuclear Waste Dumped In St. Louis Area And Its Affect On The Area Population
Atomic Homefront, the recently released HBO Original documentary, has been the talk of St. Louis in recent weeks. Its subject matter has been around for much longer, however. And now you can stream the documentary for free.
Nuclear waste leftover from the Manhattan Project was illegally dumped in the St. Louis area in the 1940s and has sat in the area since, affecting an untold number of St. Louisans.
During World War II, the United States set out on a mission to develop the first nuclear weapons. St. Louis was home to much of the uranium processing for the project. Mallinckrodt Chemical Company did much of the processing of the uranium. That uranium was later used in the first atomic bombs as well as many bombs developed during the Cold War, according to a 1996 report on the history of uranium processing in St. Louis.
Much of the waste was illegally dumped at a site along Latty Avenue in Hazelwood. The waste contaminated much of the area, including nearby Coldwater Creek.
Some waste was illegally moved on July 16, 1973 to the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton. A truck driver later claimed that they used clean soil from their home gardens to fool the landfill supervisors. That landfill was declared an EPA Superfund site in 1990.
Neighborhood residents and other community members have been fighting the U.S Government, Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency and Republic Services for decades to clean up the area.
Earlier this month, the EPA announced plans to remove the radioactive material from West Lake. The latest plan is expected to take five years to put into motion.
Meanwhile, an underground fire is edging closer to a deposit of nuclear waste in Bridgeton. Or is it? Some scientists say the fire is 1,000 feet away from the waste. Republic, which owns the landfill, contends that the fire is slowly moving away from the material.
What will happen if it reaches the radioactive material? No one knows for sure.
The nuclear waste in the St. Louis area and its dangerous affects on the population were in the news long before the release of the HBO documentary. It’s early February release just brought the information to light in an easily-digestible format.
Scroll down to watch Atomic Homefront in full. If you aren’t ready to commit to watching the whole documentary, watch the trailer below.
Atomic Homefront trailer
The St. Louis District of the Army Corps of Engineers held a public meeting in the area last night to update the community on its efforts to remove the waste from the area. The annual meeting was originally announced the day before Atomic Homefront debuted on HBO. The documentary’s popularity was credited with drawing a larger-than-normal crowd Thursday night.
Atomic Homefront from documentary filmmaker Rebecca Cammisa was originally released back in November.
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