The Department of Energy is finding more radioactive tumbleweeds on the 560-square mile Hanford Reservation in Washington state.
A recent DOE report says 20 were discovered during the first six months of 1998. This compares with 11 during all of 1995. Tumbleweeds have long roots that stretch as much as 15 feet into the soil in search of water. After sucking up groundwater, the tops of the plants are blown away by the wind. The DOE has found radioactive ants, flies and gnats at Hanford.