most industrial sites, activities on the Shipyard
generated different types of hazardous waste, some
of which contaminated the soil, groundwater and
buildings. Before the Navy can return the property
to the City, they have to investigate all areas
that they think could be contaminated and ensure
that the property is clean and safe for future uses.
Shipyard was one of the Navys radiologically-oriented
facilities. The Shipyard was home to the Naval Radiological
Defense Laboratory (NRDL), which coordinated much
of the Navy's early research on radioactive materials
and their impacts. The NRDL was also involved in
the repair of nuclear powered ships at Dry Dock
These activities and the decontamination
of ships associated with Pacific atomic and thermonuclear
weapons testing generated radiological material
and waste. The Shipyard also consolidated radioactive
waste from other facilities, including the University
of California, Mare Island Naval Shipyard, and McClellan
Air Force Base (near Sacramento).
most of the waste was dumped in the Pacific Ocean
at the Farralone Islands 15 miles west of San Francisco,
some was disposed of on-site. The Navy is currently
involved in an investigation intended to identify
and remove any radiological contamination still
on the Shipyard.
was one method used in an attempt to decontaminate
ships that returned from Operation Crossroads.
Operation Crossroads was an atomic test conducted
in the Bikini Atoll in the summer of 1946. Of
the approximately 180 ships that were involved,
18 target and observation vessels were decontaminated
at Hunters Point Shipyard.
February 25, 2004, the Navy released the Draft
Final Historical Radiological Assessment, Volume
II, History of the Use of General Radioactive Materials,
1939-2003, Hunters Point Shipyard, also known
as the HRA. The HRA provides an overview of the
how the Shipyard participated in the Navys
radiological programs, the sites used for radiation
work on the base, and how radioactive materials
were handled and disposed of since the Navy started
using the property in 1939.
To produce the HRA, the Navy reviewed historical
documents, interviewed former Shipyard employees,
and conducted some investigations in the field.
As a result of their research, the Navy identified
90 sites on the Shipyard as being potentially radiologically
impacted, 26 of which have already been investigated
and were found to have no contamination. The HRA
recommends further investigation for 58 of the 90
impacted sites on the Shipyard. The Navy is currently
developing a plan to prioritize the investigations
at these sites and to begin cleanup, as necessary.
order to properly address the issue, Arc Ecology's
Community Window on the Shipyard worked with Radioactive
Waste Management Associates to review the Draft
Final HRA. A comprehensive analysis of the report
was prepared and sent to the Navy with Arc Ecology's
comments on the HRA. A fact sheet that summarizes
the HRA was also prepared. Both the
fact sheet and Arc
Ecology's comments can be found in our
on-line library: http://www.communitywindowontheshipyard.org/cleanupguide/index.htm.
||One of the many labs associated
with NRDL activities on the Shipyard.
did the Navy re-do the HRA for Hunters Point?
first draft of the HRA for Hunters Point came out
in March 2002. The Navy received a great deal of
critical comments from the regulating agencies (state
and federal branches of the EPA) as well as from
the City and concerned community members. In general,
people felt the report was missing a lot of information
and did not present the whole picture. The Navy
was required to respond to these comments and fill
in the gaps that people pointed out. Since then,
the Navy found much more documentation regarding
Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory activities,
which they reviewed in order to prepare the latest
will the latest HRA be available for public review?
Draft Final Historical Radiological Assessment,
Volume II, History of the Use of General Radioactive
Materials, 1939-2003 for Hunters Point Shipyard
was released on February 25, 2004. The official
public comment period ended on April 29, 2004, however
public comments are always accepted. Copies of the
HRA are available for review at the Community Window's
Information Repository (4634 Third Street, San Francisco,
94124) or at the City of San Francisco Main Library
or the Bayview/Anna E. Waden Branch Library. The
Navy has prepared a public summary of the document,
which can be found at:http://www.efdsw.navfac.navy.mil/Environmental/pdf/HRA-PublicSummary-0204.pdf
more information about the history of NRDL activities
at Hunters Point, read Lisa Davis' "Fallout"
series in SF Weekly: http://www.sfweekly.com/issues/2002-07-31/feature.html/1/index.html
information about general radiation contamination,
its potential health effects, and how it enters
the environment, try these sites:
U.S. EPA Office of Air and
The Health Physics
Society of the University of Michigan