By Dennis Riches / / January 19, 2013 /

More forgotten history that hides in plain sight: It’s not a stop for the Japanese tourists who visit Niagara, but they might be interested to know. The shores of Lake Ontario and the Niagara River are the resting place for high-level radioactive waste leftover from the project to build the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs. Who knew?

[…]In the summer of 2011, I came across a report by WIVB, a Buffalo, NY television station, about a Niagara Falls road project that had been held up because of high radiation levels discovered by a contractor on the project. The report is somewhat confusing because some of the people quoted seemed to be alarmed by the discovery, while the mayor said, “The project is not a remedial project for removing radioactive materials wherever they’re found. It’s a road construction project in which radioactive materials that are under the road are being removed, and so there are limits to the bounds of the project.”

In other words, everyone involved was supposed to know the contamination existed, and residents with contaminated properties were out of luck because the project focused only on the road. Strangely, the report failed to explain why the area was contaminated. This might be because the issue is so well-known to locals that it need not be mentioned. This is, after all, the home of Love Canal, one of the most famous cases of industrial pollution in the world. The area has been so damaged by industry that health studies of the radiation are inconclusive because the high rates of cancer are also caused by chemicals.

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