Aug 20

Treasure Island Radiation More Widespread than Reported (NBC, Aug 17, 2012):

Radioactive contamination at the Treasure Island Naval Station, where San Francisco plans to build a high-rise community for 20,000 residents, is more widespread than previously disclosed, according to a new U.S. Navy report and other documents obtained by The Bay Citizen.

Although the Navy and one state agency say cleanup has been effective and remaining radiation levels are low, the state Department of Public Health expressed alarm as recently as May, saying earlier studies showing fewer radioactive sites led to a botched cleanup effort and the potential spread of contaminants both on and off the island.

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Aug 18

Nuclear Radiation On San Francisco’s Treasure Island: We Don’t Need To Know, Apparently (ZeroHedge, Aug 17, 2012):

“That amount of radium found to date cannot be explained by gauges, deck markers, and decontamination activities,” wrote Stephen Woods, an environmental cleanup manager at the California Department of Public Health, about Treasure Island, the rectilinear speck of land in the San Francisco Bay two-and-a-half miles of white caps from our kitchen window. It summed up decades of US Government efforts to bury nuclear sins under layers of ignorance.

The US Government created Treasure Island from fill in 1937 and connected it to Yerba Buena Island, the overgrown rock in the middle of the Bay Bridge. After the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939/1940, it became a naval base. In 1993, the Navy started the process of cleaning up the island so that the City of San Francisco, which had agreed to buy it for $105 million, would accept it—pending approval by state health officials.

Meanwhile, 2,800 people, oblivious to what was buried on the island, moved into the housing units they rented from the Navy. Developers are scheduled to break ground on a high-rise complex next year. The population could eventually swell to 20,000. Alas, in an excellent piece of reporting, The Bay Citizen, a nonprofit news organization, reveals a homegrown nuclear debacle kept out of public view by decades of deception.

After World War II, Treasure Island became a training center for nuclear decontamination. In a 2006 report on the cleanup, the Navy concluded that the locations of the USS Pandemonium, the mockup of a ship used for decontamination training, were free from radiation, and that a 170-acre area was ready to be transferred to San Francisco. But contractors hired by the Navy kept running into radioactivity of such magnitude that one worker was exposed to the maximum radiation dosage allowed under Nuclear Regulatory Commission guidelines and was sent off the job. Continue reading »

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