Sunday, November 27, 2016

Greenland Pushes Denmark to Clean Up Dangerous American Military Junk

Greenland is asking Denmark to clean up US military junk left behind by Cold War-era American military projects on the giant island.

Denmark allowed the US to build 33 bases and radar stations on the giant island, then a part of Denmark, in a 1951 deal, AP reports. The agreement between the two NATO allies didn't say who was to clean the stuff up.

Now Greenland, an autonomous though not fully independent nation, is tired of being America's junkyard and has asked Denmark to come clean up.

The military debris includes Camp Century, a planned nuclear missile launch site that was to tunnel massive missiles along a sort of railway under Greenland's ice.

The camp, begun in 1959 and abandoned in 1967, still contains 200,000 liters of diesel oil and sewage — and perhaps more sinister litter. Camp Century was powered by a nuclear reactor, Business Insider reports.

Though the Americans took the reactor away, they seem to have left radioactive waste along with the fuel and other materials beneath the ice. At the time, Greenland's ice would have seemed impenetrable and safe.

Now, Business Insider reports, the ice keeping all this waste out of Greenland's water and soil could melt within 88 years, if the current rate of melting holds.

"The question is whether it's going to come out in hundreds of years, in thousands of years, or in tens of thousands of years," University of Colorado climate scientist James White said in a press release. "This stuff was going to come out anyway, but what climate change did was press the gas pedal to the floor and say, 'it's going to come out a lot faster than you thought.'"

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