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New report claims radioactivity at SF shipyard greater than originally determined

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An independent report, one of two released Thursday on the safety of the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco, said no data exists to support the presumption the shipyard is safe.

One of the reports, by the Committee to Bridge the Gap, said, “The great majority of the site was never tested for radioactivity, and what measurements were made ignored the great majority of radionuclides.”

The Committee to Bridge the Gap is made up of president Daniel Hirsch, the retired director for the Program on Environmental and Nuclear Policy at the University of California at Santa Cruz and students and former students of the university.

Hirsch met with residents of the former shipyard Thursday to present the results of the reports after a San Francisco citizens advisory committee declined to allow him to present the results at one of the committee meetings, he said.

Hirsch said residents who attended gave him the impression that for the first time they were getting some straight answers.

But, he said, “What I had to tell them wasn’t particularly pleasant.”

He said there was much more radioactivity at the shipyard than previously thought and it potentially spread throughout the shipyard.

Hirsch said 90 percent of the shipyard was not tested and the 10 percent that was, many of the test results were fabricated.

He said that more than 80 contaminated ships were present at the shipyard at some time and the ships were sandblasted, potentially spreading contamination widely.

Hirsch said the gamma scans done at the shipyard to detect radiation would not detect alpha or beta-emitting radionuclides. One of the reports said that when soil samples were taken, approximately 90 percent were not measured for two of the four radionuclides that the Navy declared to be of primary concern.

The Committee to Bridge the Gap plans to release three more reports on the shipyard cleanup, one of those in a couple of weeks.

The reports can be read at http://committeetobridgethegap.org/.

The U.S. Navy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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