This year, Hillsborough Historical Society is hosting a series of “DO YOU REMEMBER?” round table discussions in order to enhance its archives by collecting stories about Hillsborough’s deceased residents, notable events, and businesses of yesteryear from those of you who remember them.
DO YOU REMEMBER “THE GREAT NUCLEAR DUMP FIGHT” of 1986?
It will be the topic of the Society’s second round table discussion to be held at the
Heritage Museum on 5 Central Street
at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, February 25th
(snow* date: 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27th).
Of course, anyone living in Hillsborough in January 1986 remembers the announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that it was seeking a permanent nuclear waste repository somewhere between Maine and Georgia. Based solely on its “scientific” research, the DOE determined that a 78 square mile area of a particular type of granite centered beneath Hillsboro would theoretically provide the perfect dumping site capable of holding about 70,000 metric tons of radioactive trash. A half-mile deep network of tunnels extending into over 20,000 acres would negatively effect not only
Hillsborough, but at least ten neighboring towns for millions of years. For many residents this reopened a wound inflicted by the losing battle against the construction of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant. So hundreds of very angry, frustrated, but determined residents formed two brigades to execute plans for getting Hillsborough off of the DOE’s hit list. “Don’t Dump on Me!” became their battle cry.
The main goal of “People of New Hampshire Against the Nuclear Dump” was to serve as a public relations group. They brought their plight to the attention of the state and national media; organized a united front of peaceful protests, rallies, and meetings; held fundraising events; and sold/distributed flags, banners, and t-shirts.
The main goal of “The Citizen Task Force” was to refute the criteria in the DOE’s four volume report of technological and bureaucratic jargon. At the end of the allotted 90 day time frame, the task force presented a well-researched, highly technical 700 page report which proved unequivocally that the DOE’s evidence to select Hillsborough as a dump site was inaccurate, and quite frankly, preposterous.
By the end of May, the DOE surrendered; it finally realized it had chosen the wrong site. The DOE learned one important thing about Granite Staters: not only is granite beneath their feet, but it runs through their veins as well! Granite Staters won! – at least, for now…
Some information for this article was gleaned from Cynthia Van Hazinga’s book History of Hillsborough, New Hampshire and Grace and Ronald Jager’s book The Granite State New Hampshire An Illustrated History.
Please join us to share your memories and memorabilia-such as: photos, t-shirts, flags, etc. If you didn’t participate in this event, please join us to to learn about it, and to express gratitude to those who dedicated their time, energy, and expertise to rescue Greater Hillsborough from annihilation.
If you are unable to attend the discussion, but have memories or memorabilia to share, please contact the Society…
mail: Hillsborough Historical Society, PO Box 896, Hillsborough, NH 03244-0896;
or just drop by the Society’s Heritage Museum on any Wednesday or Saturday 9:00-12:00
For the Society’s next discussion, please watch local papers or visit www.hillsboroughhistory.org