American Threnody

2007 American documentary film

American Threnody (2007) is an American documentary film directed by Robert Rex Jackson. It concerns the Maxey Flat Low Level Radioactive Waste facility in eastern Kentucky.

Nicole Barkasi

  • There are some naturally occurring radioactive chemicals here. You will find cesium, barium, radium 226 and 228. You’re going to find that in samples of grading anywhere around here. There’s natural uranium. In fact you have more issues probably with cancer occurrence in this state based on naturally occurring materials than anything documented in health studies. In the shales around here you will find naturally-occurring radium.
  • We just didn’t anticipate the fractured flow in the subsurface, which you probably would find with shale anywhere. The fractured flow medium is probably what caused concerns because you didn’t have one path flow that you could map. You can’t model fractured flow medium. No way to know where it’s going to go. But even so with proper containment methods you don’t have an issue.
  • They also operated an evaporator building in the 70’s. They pumped the water and evaporated it. Because your air monitoring was at a certain level they built a tall evaporator. It’s just like any other industry. The state knew about it. As long as you blow it up high enough you pass.

Dr. Paul Charp

  • We used to say that if you wanted to increase the elimination rate of tritium, we used to say in class when I was a student, "Drink a few beers and you'll get rid of the tritium even quicker."

Dr. Bernard L. Cohen

  • I just finished a review paper about all the new evidence which is pointed to the idea that Low Level Radiation is not harmful at all and may well be protective against cancer.

Dr. Arjun Makhijani

  • I find that a number of these concentrations in the wells that were tested are quite high. Especially for plutonium 238 and in some cases for tritium. This ground water is not being used for drinking, as I understand. It is not part of a public water supply system. This would however make a case, in my opinion, that the plutonium from the Maxey Flat is leaking into the groundwater in significant amounts and therefore the parts of Maxey Flat where significant amounts of plutonium were dumped should be remediated by removal of much or most of the plutonium, rather than just covering it up.
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