Uranium, Venice and Madison, Illinois

Update: Due to reader feedback, this post has been modified to reflect that the majority of the plant and a portion of the neighborhood are in fact in Venice. Portions of the plant and the neighborhood are in Madison.

There’s a portion of Venice and Madison, Illinois that’s literally, not figuratively, on the wrong side of the railroad tracks.

Heading west from the main drag of Madison, and you enter another world of extreme poverty, abandonment, and the threat of nuclear radiation. This is not the stuff of conspiracy theories, but thoroughly documented at government websites, such as this one at the Centers from Disease Control.

The massive factory, which for generations processed Thorium and other radioactive metals, is closed now, and may or may not be cleaned up, but it almost certainly poisoned workers who died from the contamination.

There’s a security guard at the front gate (not pictured, of course), and there’s a certain menacing air that hangs over the giant buildings, which are isolated out of the public consciousness.

I expect this whole area of Venice and Madison to be abandoned in the next decade; it is in rough shape and there are no public services or even stores in the area.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Slevin Kelevra says:

    Chris – I believe these buildings are actually in the town of Venice. I also believe this article from the 2010 Riverfront times tells more of the story.


    I apologize if I am wrong.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Oh my gosh, I just checked the boundaries of Venice and Madison, and while some of the neighborhood is in fact in Madison, there’s this weird “finger” of Venice that sticks up from the south, encompassing the plant. So Madison gets to enjoy the potential pollution, while not technically controlling the site. Weird. I wonder how the heck police, fire and emergency service are provided effectively to this area. I suspect they are not.

    2. Chris Naffziger says:

      Also, here is a good write-up from the Wall Street Journal about remediation efforts at the site. It looks like it might have been cleaned up successfully, but I would prefer that the residents of the nearby area be allowed to live elsewhere for safety’s sake:
      Though at the rate of abandonment I witnessed, this seems to be the de facto future of the neighborhood, anyway.

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