At the Department of Energy pretty web site for their Office of Human Radiation Experiments, I was able to easily find a very limited scope of experiments conducted at the Hanford site but I would not have easily been able to find any mention of experiments I had heard of previous to visiting this site. For example, there are no mentions of Darcy Thrall or Brenda Weaver to name a couple of unwitting human experiment subjects from Hanford.
While I think the site is important to check out, the information is limited in helping to educate on what has been done there under your tax dollars and for national security.
The list of Hanford Sites experiments on their website mentions the following experiments:
I couldn't find any information on DOE body snatchings of deceased Hanford workers and residents who were studied with the help of a local pathologist (Plutonium Files, p. 304) to analyze the plutonium in the tissues and organs. The body snatchings got so bad that Gene Branham (PF, p. 454) along with the help of other union members had to set up vigils to make sure the DOE didn't grab corpses before they were buried.
- Ingestion of Iodine-131 in Milk by Hanford Employees
- Intentional Release of Iodine-131 at Hanford in 1963
- Absorption of Tritium Oxide Through the Skin
- Calibration Studies Using Zinc-65
- Study of Metabolism of Strontium Using Strontium-85 as a Tracer
- Whole-Body Counting Studies of the Measurement of Phosphorus-32
- Distribution and Excretion of Technetium-95 and Technetium-96 in Humans
- Study of Promethium Metabolism and the Effects of DTPA on Promethium Metabolism
- Whole-Body Counting Studies Using Iron-59 HS-10. Alternative Method for Measuring Iron Uptake Using Iron-59
I found it difficult to find information on Darcy Thrall (PF p. 453) at the HREX site. Darcy Thrall was born and raised five miles from Hanford. Unlike others in her class, Darcy's family ate the crop they grew on their land as well as animals rasied on their property and so they had a much higher concentration of radiation contamination than those that ate food trucked in from other sources. In second grade, a man pulled Darcy out of her class. He made her drink a white fluid and took her to a van where she was placed in a whole body counter. She was returned to her class with a food log in which she was to duly record every item she consumed. A week later, the man returned and made her go through the whole body counter again. This time when it was over, she was given a dog tag with her name and address along with "R-P" in the left corner and "S" in the right corner. She was told to never take off the tag. To this day, she has no idea what these symbols refer to. When she made her story public in 1994, her life and property was threatened and one of her beloved pets was killed.
There are scanned pages at the site relating to Batelle Pacific NW who owned one of the two whole body counters that was used on Darcy Thrall and 3,000 children from the Hanford region. The results the company kept secret all these years: "No one measured outside the [contamination] range anticipated."
I could not find information directly relating to the experiments done on Brenda Weaver (PF, p. 455). She lived seven miles from Hanford in an area known as "Death Mile". She remembers that her family was always sick. In 1965, she gave birth to her daughter Jamie. Jamie was born with eyelashes, eyelids, and tear ducts. Jamie was born with no eyes. "It makes her life difficult."
There is no mention at the HREX site of Karl Hende. Karl Hende was a researcher who pretended to be an Animal Husbandry specialist. He would go to landowners in the area and in pretending to be doing checkups on animals would be placing radioactive iodine probes over the thyroid areas of the animals. He states (PF, p. 270), "At the time, the revelation of a regional iodine-131 problem would have had a tremendous PR impact and furthermore the presence of other nuclides was of possible National Defense significance."
And lastly, there is no mention of whether or not these human and animal experiments were worth it. No mention if they have taught those in power anything about the awesome responsibility that comes with nuclear power.