The Safe Side of the Fence
Today's nuclear industry was born in secrecy during World War II, as America searched for a way to create the world's first self-sustained nuclear chain reaction -- a process that would culminate in the creation of the world's most powerful bombs. Code-named the Manhattan Project, the mission first needed to identify a source capable of refining massive amounts of uranium. Edward Mallinckrodt Jr., who ran a small chemical company in St. Louis, agreed to take on the job. As a result, Mallinckrodt’s employees became some of the most contaminated nuclear workers in history, and the city of St. Louis was left to deal with the considerable fallout that resulted from the company’s creation of the world's first nuclear waste. Seventy years later, the city’s nuclear legacy continues to have damaging effects, and the steps required to keep workers and the public safe from these dangerous materials presents a seemingly never-ending challenge.