The never-ending mess from America’s early nuclear tests
An atomic bomb, a scandal, and the neighborhood next door
By Rachel Becker and William Poor on October 9, 2018 10:00 a.m.
The Hunters Point Shipyard in San Francisco is where ships irradiated by early nuclear testing in the Pacific were towed so they could be decontaminated. Now, people are trying to clean it up. But there’s been a lot of trouble along the way, like a case of ecological fraud that’s sent two people to prison, so far. The neighborhood feels poisoned by the government — and how do you clean that up?
The city today is in the grips of a housing crisis: the population is growing, land is at a premium, and new housing is desperately needed. And one of the biggest new developments is in an area called Bayview-Hunters Point. It’s a classic gentrification story: a brand-new, expensive development built next to an established, lower-income, historically black community. It’s also the site of radioactive waste, an alleged cover up, and some criminal convictions. Less classic.
The development sits at the edge of the Bayview-Hunters Point community, the site of the defunct Hunters Point Shipyard. In addition to the wastes from the irradiated ships, the site is also contaminated with radioactive paint used to make deck markers and devices glow, fuels and pesticides, and radioactive materials used in lab experiments. And that’s all on top of the asbestos that’s just naturally in the soil there.
The EPA added the shipyard to the Superfund list in 1989 — and cleaning it up has been a massive effort. So the Navy brought in a firm called Tetra Tech EC to help. But a few years ago, whistleblowers starting coming forward with claims of botched cleanup work by Tetra Tech. And reporters with NBC Bay Area got their hands on an internal report that admitted Tetra Tech workers falsified soil tests. NBC called it “an apparent effort to declare the soil free of radiological contamination when it may not have been.”
(There are numerous links embedded in that article that are very important.)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 3, 2018
Radiation Control Technician Supervisors Sentenced For Falsifying Former Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard Clean-Up Records.
Defendants admit substituting “clean dirt” for legitimate soil samples in order to fake the results of radiological remediation efforts.
This country has NEVER given an thought to the ramifications of any of its actions. Especially when it comes to pollution. I was office manager for an environmental remediation company in the 90s, I used to type reports for geologists, hydrogeologist, and biologist. (That job was a definite challenge!) I KNOW what’s lurking in the ground water around these parts. Face it, for over 200 years the way we got rid of was to dump it on the ground. I have a phobia about tap water now. Or to be more exact, water in general. I’ve had 2 jobs that I wish I’d never had. This is one of them. Ignorance can definitely be ‘bliss’.
Human, animal life, and the environment have NEVER been a consideration during the development of new technology or products. Testing, honest thorough reliable testing, has never been a big priority for any of the major technical ‘advances’ that whip off the assembly line. That includes private innovators like Tesla and their exploding cars. Or any cell phone manufacturer/developer. It seems like these geniuses put their wares on the market and its the public who does the testing. How many cars are recalled each year?
We have thousands of places in scattered around our country that are unsafe for humans, flora, and fauna.
Do You Live Near Toxic Waste? See 1,317 of the Most Polluted Spots in the U.S.
The original article I posted is about one of the country’s dirtiest sites and the corruption and incompetence involved in its ‘cleanup’. Tragically, people LIVE on top of them. Not only poor people in run-down houses but people who’ve bought homes in well-to-do developments. Environmental contamination is one of the few situations where the misery is shared by both the poor and the well-to-do. And to further exacerbate the problem, the Trump administration wants to cut the funding for the EPA;
The cleanup program may face cuts under President Trump, whose proposed budget includes slashing EPA’s funding by 31%. That would include reducing the Superfund program from over $1 billion to $762 million in funding, though the cuts are still preliminary and would need to go through Congress for approval.
That’s some real ignorance right there. There are a lot of areas where we can cut funding, but this is NOT one of them. What we need, desperately need, is leadership that understands that we need to prioritize cleaning up our country, our home. (Quit rolling your eyes.) Eventually it won’t matter if there’s a nuclear holocaust. Maybe it will be a blessing. Because it will be a lot faster than dying from all the ways we’re being slowly poisoned.