Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nuclear Dump Playground?

Watertown Arsenal nuclear reactor uranium dump site

From Dave Brigham:

I have a thing for government conspiracies. UFO cover-ups, espionage, secret midnight dumping of nuclear materials (I have a concept album years in the making about the first topic, and many years ago wrote a song about the latter subject). Having lived in the Boston area for nearly 20 years, I've driven past the site depicted in these photos countless times, and wondered what dangers and mysteries lurked behind the vines clinging to the fence.

Located in Watertown, the 12-acre site was once part of the massive Watertown Arsenal complex, where the Department of Defense manufactured and stored munitions. This specific site was used as a staging facility for the leftover metals from the manufacture of armor-piercing rounds, which were made of spent uranium. The tailings were trucked to the site in oil and burned in order to stabilize them, and then shipped off-site for disposal (I'm getting a lot of this info from a recent Boston Globe article).

Contaminated like crazy, the area may one day become a recreation area with walking trails and restored wetlands. But first the US Army Corps of Engineers must complete tests on the soil to see how deep the nasty stuff is, and just what it comprises.

I can only imagine how long and involved the process of cleaning this site will be. I hope it gets turned into a beautiful and useful area, but part of me will miss driving by the site and speculating on just what sort of awful things are buried in the sludge.

Watertown Arsenal nuclear reactor uranium dump site


  1. Hi Dave,

    Is that the abandoned sheds around the corner of Greenough Blvd. and Arsenal St. (S: you can cross out the loc. if you don't wanna make it public)? If so, I always wonder why it's been abandoned.

    Nukes, yikes!

  2. Hi Shuko:

    Yup, that's the spot. I'd love to get over that fence, but I'm not an urban explorer type. Quite a history behind this place.