1998 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Aimee Houghton <aimeeh@cpeo.org>
Date: 12 Jul 1998 13:56:59
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Livermore Lab & Plutonium Sampling
Plutonium Sampling Update

by Marylia Kelley
from Tri-Valley CAREs' July 1998 newsletter, Citizen's Watch


Plutonium, a dense, deadly, long-lived radioactive metal has been found in
three Livermore parks above the amounts "expected" due to world-wide
fallout from nuclear weapons tests. The highest levels were discovered in
Big Trees Park, where concentrations measured up to 1,000 times higher than
attributable to global fallout. The source of the plutonium is known to be
Livermore Lab. Questions remain, however, regarding the extent of the
contamination, the pathway(s) by which the plutonium traveled from the Lab
to the community, whether there are other likely "hot spots" in the area
and the extent to which the community gets to decide what is an "acceptable
risk" for its children, among other things. Tri-Valley CAREs' long-standing
efforts to bring attention to this problem received a boost when a report
by state and federal health agencies recommended follow-up measures to
address both the plutonium in the parks and the plutonium-contaminated
sludge given to residents as a soil conditioner in the 1960s and 1970s. As
our readers know, the Lab then jumped ahead of the public's ability to
fully comment.

Where We Are Now:

Since then, we have won additional opportunities for public
involvement--starting with extra time for community members to give input
into the Lab's proposed sampling plan. Next, we got assurances the plan
was, indeed, a "draft," and that public comments would be incorporated into
a "draft final" and circulated before any plan was finalized. Through our
Technical Assistance Grant with the EPA to monitor cleanup at the Lab, we
were able to hire a technical advisor on sampling methods, Dr. Owen Hoffman
of SENES of Oak Ridge. Too, we were also able to make his services
available to the community members of the "Site Team" who are guiding the
public health assessment process. (Copies of Tri-Valley CAREs' and SENES'
comments are available on request.)

Next Steps:

DOE and the Lab plan to release a draft final sampling plan by the end of
this month. The EPA will then sponsor a public meeting to discuss the plan
in early August, before it is finalized and the sampling begins. (EPA has
prepared a three-page fact sheet on the process, also available on

Marylia Kelley
Tri-Valley CAREs
(Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)
5720 East Ave. #116, Livermore, CA USA 94550

<www.igc.org/tvc/> is our website, currently under construction
(925) 443-7148 - is our phone
(925) 443-0177 - is our fax

Working for peace, justice and a healthy environment since 1983, Tri-Valley
CAREs has been a member of the nation-wide Alliance for Nuclear
Accountability in the U.S. since 1989, and is a co-founding member of the
international Abolition 2000 network for the elimination of nuclear weapons
in 1995.

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