Plutonium Levels 1,000 Times Normal On Seafloor 50 Miles From San Francisco

Wall St. Journal: Plutonium levels 1,000 times normal on seafloor 50 miles from San Francisco — Expert Appalled: Major nuclear dump offshore is a threat to health — Around 50,000 containers of radioactive waste in globally significant ecosystem (ENENews, Jan 2, 2014):

Wall St. Journal, Dec. 31, 2013:

  • [There’s] a major [nuclear] dump site […] about 50 miles west of San Francisco [in] “a globally significant” ecosystem “that supports abundant wildlife and valuable fisheries.”
  • [A]n estimated 47,000 containers lie at the site near San Francisco
  • 2010 report from [NOAA] […] called the waste site a “potentially significant resource threat.”

The ’91 Study

  • [S]tudy found fish contamination and recommended follow-up research
  • A spokeswoman for the California Department of Public Health said […] researchers “didn’t find anything in the first survey.”
  • “I would beg to differ,” Thomas Suchanek, the principal investigator and lead author of the 1991 study, said recently
  • [P]lutonium in underwater sediment at the dump site was up to about 1,000 times normal background levels
  • The study found americium, a radioactive decay product of plutonium, in some fish samples from the site as well as a comparison area about 60 miles away
  • Regularly eating such contaminated fish, about a pound a week, could expose a person to up to 18.5 millirems […] A chest X-ray typically gives about 2 to 10 millirems

More ‘Studying’

  • A 2001 federal study of part of the Farallon dump site [off San Francisco] found indications of leakage from barrels
  • Estimates of the radioactivity amounts in the containers “could be off as much as a factor of 10 […] little is known of the fate of radioisotopes added to the sea.”
  • [FDA] said that in 1990 it found traces of plutonium in fish samples from the site but at levels well within safety standards
  • W. Jackson Davis, a now-retired professor of biological and environmental sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz […] [said] evidence showed environmental damage and health threats were already arising at the dump sites
  • In a recent interview, Mr. Davis recalled that the more he learned about the subject, “the more appalled I became.”
  • EPA and FDA would continue radiation sampling of commercial seafood purchased in cities, such as San Francisco and Boston, near dump sites

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