2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 1 May 2003 16:27:05 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Navy not cleaning Shipyard to EPA standards
Navy not cleaning Shipyard to EPA standards
Even ‘master developer’ Lennar fears health risk of lax radiation
Editorial by Ahimsa Porter Sumchai, M.D.

The Navy’s seven-year-old effort to transfer a parcel of land on the
Hunters Point Shipyard to the City and County of San Francisco for early
development has been further imperiled by the recent disclosure that two
radiation impacted buildings on the federal Superfund site were cleared
for unrestricted use by an outdated cleanup standard that is well below
the EPA recommended level and is currently being challenged in
California Superior Court.

Those who are eager to develop the Shipyard before it has been
thoroughly cleaned are facing another, even more serious, setback. A
political firestorm was ignited this year in the California state
legislature where, according to Navy Low Level Radioactive Waste Program
Director Laurie Lowman, seven bills have been introduced that, if
enacted into law this fall, would establish cleanup standards for
unrestricted use and human occupancy of radiation contaminated property
around the state even more stringent than the EPA maximum dose limit of
15 millirems per year.

The legal challenges also signal that the current cleanup standards used
by the Navy to clear radiation impacted buildings at the Shipyard
represent a fundamental violation of the local Proposition P voter
initiative adopted by the San Francisco electorate in the Nov. 7, 2000,
general election. Approved by 87 percent of the city’s voters,
Proposition P explicitly states:

“The Bayview Hunters Point community wants the Hunters Point Shipyard to
be cleaned to a level which would enable the unrestricted use of the
property - the highest standard for cleanup established by the United
States Environmental Protection Agency.”

Parcel A of the 936-acre deactivated Shipyard, which is located on a
promontory extending into San Francisco Bay in the city’s southeast
sector, contains two buildings that were former laboratories and x-ray
facilities used by the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratories in the
post World War II era until their disestablishment in 1969.

Buildings 816 and 821 have been the sites of recent radiological
investigations and remediation actions, and both buildings were cleared
in the last two years for unrestricted use by the California Department
of Health Services using a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) standard
of a 25 millirem per year dose limit. This standard is far more lax than
the 15 millirem per year dose limit recommended by Region IX EPA.

In a Navy radiation cleanup document released on March 7, 2003, Steve
Dean, EPA Superfund radiation expert and head of the Superfund technical
support team, commented on the Draft Historical Radiological Assessment,
saying, “At this writing, the California Department of Health Services’
use of the NRC’s 25 millirem per year dose limit as its unrestricted use
release standard is being challenged in court and by the California
State legislature.

“I recommend that the Navy use EPA’s maximum dose limit of 15 millirem
per year to release buildings at HPS (Hunters Point Shipyard) for
unrestricted use until the legal issues surrounding the NRC dose limit
are resolved.” The EPA standard is documented in the OSWER Directive
9200.4-18 dated Aug. 20, 1997.

This editorial can be viewed at:

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