— California to conduct radiological survey of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard

Posted on the California Department of Public Health website

July 6, 2018

“In response to allegations of data falsification and public concern, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), the Navy, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), and stakeholders from the City of San Francisco have requested the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) perform a phased approach radiological survey to assess the health and safety of the public and the environment in Parcel A”

Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Parcel A-1 Survey

To submit questions or comments about this project, please email RHBHuntersPointParcelAScan[at]cdph.ca.gov  

https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CEH/DRSEM/Pages/RHB-Environment/Hunters-Point-Naval-Shipyard-Parcel-A-1-Survey.aspx/#;

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— San Francisco: Eco-fraud by the bay

From Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)
Summer 2018 newsletter

Hot Property…in More Ways than One.
Hunters Point is being touted as San Francisco’s biggest
redevelopment since the 1906 earthquake.

San Francisco currently has a severe case of real estate fever,
pricing all but the rich out of its new housing market. The city’s poorest quarter, Bayview-Hunters Point in its southeast corner, is the latest epicenter of development mania. But, there is a big problem.

The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard hosted nuclear weapons work, including supposed decontamination of Navy ships used in Pacific hydrogen bomb tests–which left the shipyard with ultra-high radioactivity. It has been an EPA Superfund site since 1989.

Now, this nearly 30-year radiation cleanup has run off the tracks. PEER has obtained documents showing that the remaining contamination is far, far worse than previously reported:
• Almost 100% of the soil samples taken by the U.S. Navy’s contractor Tetra Tech re-examined by the  EPA are “falsified,” subject to deliberate manipulation and “neither reliable nor defensible”;
• Parcels transferred to San Francisco under false pretenses as suitable remain deeply contaminated; and
• Most every Tetra Tech radiation survey on the shipyard’s buildings is bogus.

One of the things that makes these findings so remarkable is that the Navy was on notice for years that it had a major data meltdown on its hands yet is still trying to cook the books. Of course, neither the Navy nor EPA revealed any of this. There are still more shoes to drop and we intend to make Hunters Point the poster child for meaningful Superfund reform.

– – – – – – – –

Don’t Eat the Tomatoes
In areas of Hunters Point certified as clean, residents are subject to
a curious covenant: they may not grow food unless they import
soil. This raises the question of what is meant by “clean.” It is especially important with respect to radiation, a pollutant that keeps
on giving.

https://www.peer.org/assets/docs/PEEReview_Summer_18.pdf

Posted under Fair Use Rules

— San Francisco Hunters Point land development on hold as falsification of toxics cleanup investigated

Earlier reporting on this situation.

From Hood Online

September 22, 2016

Hunters Point Shipyard Land Transfers On Hold As Toxic Waste Cleanup Investigated

By John Shutt

Regulators from the Environmental Protection Agency and California Department of Toxic Substances Control have told the Navy to stop transferring land from the Hunters Point Shipyard to developers while agencies investigate the extent of the falsification of data about the cleanup of toxic and radioactive materials at the site.

The regulatory action was first reported in the Ingleside-Excelsior Light last week, and stemmed from investigations into Navy contractor Tetra Tech.

NBC Bay Area reported earlier this year that a former Tetra Tech employee said he had been told to swap potentially contaminated soil samples for clean ones, dump potentially contaminated soil into open trenches around Hunters Point, sign falsified documents submitted to the government, and tamper with computer data about radiation levels. Other former workers said they were fired in retaliation after reporting violations to regulators.

The shipyard was declared a superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency due to contamination from the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, located there from 1948 through 1969, and toxic waste left over from industrial use. The Navy is obligated to clean land at the shipyard before it is turned over for development.

EPA regional spokesperson Michele Huitric confirmed that investigations into Tetra Tech are ongoing, and said the EPA was aware of investigations by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Navy. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission previously recommended a fine against Tetra Tech after they found the company had deliberately falsified data.

Part of the shipyard declared safe by regulators has already been transferred to developer FivePoint, a spinoff of Lennar Corporation, which is building residential housing. A FivePoint spokesman said that the Tetra Tech whistleblower reports are not related to Parcel A, the land they are building on.

“Parcel A was transferred in 2004, several years prior to the alleged soil mishandling, and after the Navy, USEPA, and State of California determined the property was cleaned up and safe for transfer,” said FivePoint spokesperson David Satterfield. “Parcel A was removed from the National Priorities List at that time and is no longer considered a federal superfund site.”

Bradley Angel from environmental activist group Greenaction said that he had confronted FivePoint officials at a recent sales event about the cleanup, and had been shown documents that indicated Tetra Tech worked on at least part of Parcel A.

“They took us into the back room and took out three big binders and opened the first one, and of course the first sentence was about Tetra Tech’s work at the Shipyard, but not, of course, about falsification of soil samples,” Angel said.

San Francisco Magazine reported yesterday that a July email from the Navy indicated that Tetra Tech may have done sampling on Parcel A.

Greenaction has called for Tetra Tech to be fired and for an independent investigation of toxin and radiation levels at the shipyard and in the surrounding area.

UC Santa Cruz researcher Dan Hirsch, part of a team preparing a report on the cleanup, said that not only had Tetra Tech falsified soil samples, the Navy has been using outdated remediation standards that allow much higher levels of toxic material than the EPA currently recommends—in some cases about 100 times higher—and radiation levels equivalent to 12 chest x-rays per year for residents.

“We found over and over again that the Navy used standards that EPA said they aren’t supposed to use,” Hirsh said.

Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Malia Cohen wrote to the Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 19th requesting a meeting.

“The environmental cleanup of the property is a critical first step in the process of developing Hunters Point Shipyard—a project that will deliver desperately needed housing and long-overdue public benefits to the Hunters Point community,” read the letter. “For that reason, we are requesting a briefing with senior Environmental Protection Agency leadership, confidential if necessary, so that we may better understand the scope and timelines of the investigations, and any potential impacts to the overall schedule for the delivery of these public benefits.”

The Shipyard development is a major piece of the city’s strategy for developing the southeastern waterfront. FivePoint plans to build 1,400 units of housing on the land that has already transferred, but thousands of additional units are now in limbo.

http://hoodline.com/2016/09/hunters-point-shipyard-land-transfers-on-hold-as-toxic-waste-cleanup-investigated

— Cover-up of radioactive and toxic waste at San Francisco; whistleblowers fired; 25 millirem used for testing in violation of EPA standards

Video by the Labor Video Project
53:53

The 420-acre shipyard was one of the nation’s most notorious Superfund sites, home to a federal nuclear program begun in 1946 that included a secret laboratory [Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory] where tests were conducted to determine the effects of radiation on living organisms. Military equipment and ships contaminated by atomic bomb explosions were kept at Hunters Point, and the grounds were polluted with petroleum fuels, pesticides, heavy metals, PCBs, organic compounds and asbestos. — SF Chronicle, February 7, 2017

On February 8, 2017, government agencies held a  meeting on the state of clean up at San Francisco’s former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. It was an open format”  meeting with poster boards and reps scattered around the room, forcing people to individually talk with reps. This was done instead of a real meeting before the whole audience — presentations by the various oversight agencies and questions and answers from audience which would put them on record for their remarks and which everyone could hear. “A government propaganda show,” said a community advocate. This format was deliberately chosen for lack of accountability.

The Navy representative refused to answer a request to hold a meeting with presentations and debate.

Government representatives included:

Nina Bacey, California Dept of Toxic Substances Control
Amy Browntell, SF Department of Public Health
Lily Lee, EPA Cleanup Project Manager, Superfund Division
Zach?, U.S. Navy
Malia Cohen, SF Board of Supervisors

Community advocates who spoke on camera included:

Marie Harris, Green Action
Bradley Angel, Green Action
Dr. Ray Tomkins, environmental scientist
Daniel Hirsch, UCSC Executive Director on Environmental and      Nuclear Policy; Founder, Committee to Bridge the Gap

Comments and interviews:

3:10 Interview of Nina Bacey, California DTSC

16:13 Interview of Amy Brownell, SF Public Health

18:37 Marie Harris, Green Action

20:10 Bradley Angel, Green Action

22:11 Dr. Ray Tomkins, environmental scientist — on the testing

29:13 Interview of Lily Lee, EPA

35:10 Daniel Hirsch (UCSC) questions Lily Lee (EPA)

41:40 Interview of Malia Cohen, SF Supervisor

45:07 Bradley Angel, Green Action

From the Labor Video Project

Cover up blows up at SF Hunters Point Naval Shipyard “Clean-up” Meeting, 2-7-17

At a meeting at San Francisco Hunters Point superfund site, the US Navy, EPA, California Department of Toxic Substances and San Francisco Department of Public Health tried to explain what they are doing about the systemic falsification of testing at the highly contaminated site. There has been on Federal, state or local criminal investigation of the intimidation, workplace bullying and termination of health and safety testers and whistleblowers at Test America and Tetra Tech. The US Navy also said they are still employing Tetra Tech around the United States.

Continue reading

— In 1947, US Navy burned 600,000 gallons of radioactive fuel at San Francisco shipyard

Originally from SF Weekly

BY LISA DAVIS
lisa.davis@sfweekly.com
SF Weekly
21st May 2003

With little fanfare, U.S. Navy officials in charge of cleaning up the Hunters Point Shipyard acknowledged last week that Navy personnel had burned large amounts of fuel contaminated with radioactive material in the shipyard’s boilers 56 years ago.

In its announcement, the Navy contended that the burning of more than 600,000 gallons of fuel oil containing traces of plutonium and other radioactive materials caused no harm to the environment or to people. But the Navy did not make clear how it determined there had been no harm.

Navy officials declined comment on the announcement, which was included in a fact sheet given to members of the Hunters Point community.

But representatives of federal environmental and health agencies said the revelation should prompt new radiation surveys in and around the shipyard. And residents of the Hunters Point and Bayview neighborhoods near the former shipyard — an area long plagued with health problems — expressed concern about the Navy’s disclosure, which comes after years of environmental cleanup at the shipyard and more than 50 years after the burning in question.

“Everything that happened, on the historical side, out there is significant,” says Lynne Brown, chairman of the Hunters Point Shipyard Restoration Advisory Board, a community liaison committee. “The community would like to know what happened.”

The Hunters Point Shipyard was an active naval base for about 40 years; the Navy decommissioned it in 1974. After leasing significant portions of the base to private interests for a time, the Navy has overseen a long-running environmental cleanup that, once completed, would allow ownership of the base to be transferred to the city of San Francisco. The city wants to redevelop the site for commercial and residential use.

In March 2001, the Navy released a draft Historical Radiation Assessment, billed, at the time, as an exhaustive, five-year look at radiological activities at the shipyard. The report — which, many environmental authorities argue, should have been finished years ago, and certainly long before the shipyard cleanup began in 1989 — cost some $2 million to complete.

That initial report contained no mention of fuel-burning at the shipyard, and deficiencies in the report, including some revealed by SF Weekly, led the Navy to expand and extend its investigation of shipyard radiation. What the Navy describes as “newly discovered” information — the burning of contaminated fuel from ships used as targets in early nuclear weapons tests — comes out of that expanded investigation, being conducted by the Navy’s Radiation Affairs Support Office, based in Yorktown, Va.

Actually, however, the burning of radioactive fuel at the shipyard was first publicly documented by SF Weekly in the initial installment of its investigative series “Fallout,” published in May 2001. That series, which relied in large part on the government’s own records, focused on the activities of the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, a research facility that grew out of America’s early nuclear tests.

In 1946, as part of its weapons testing program, the United States detonated two 23-kiloton atomic bombs — known as shots Able and Baker — over a fleet of target ships anchored near the Bikini atoll in the South Pacific Ocean. Many of the ships involved in these Operation Crossroads tests were towed back to Hunters Point Shipyard for research purposes. This research, which centered on attempts to clean the ships of radioactive contamination, was the earliest reported work of the NRDL.

Most of the ships from the Operation Crossroads tests were too damaged and “hot” to reuse and were eventually scuttled at sea — but not before the Navy burned the fuel from three of them, including the giant USS Independence, a 10,000-ton aircraft carrier that had been close enough to have been severely mangled in the blasts. Another ship, the USS Gasconade, was so contaminated that, government reports state, it could only be boarded by workers wearing respiratory gear.

Nonetheless, according to a fact sheet distributed recently by the Navy, in the summer of 1947 Navy personnel (with the approval of officials at the Atomic Energy Commission) burned some 610,000 gallons of contaminated fuel oil from the Independence, the Gasconade, and the USS Crittenden in boilers at the shipyard’s power plants, then known as Buildings 203 and 521. Neither building is mentioned in the Navy’s initial Historical Radiation Assessment. The buildings also were not mentioned as potential sources of radiation contamination in environmental documents provided to the public and regulators in conjunction with the cleanup at Hunters Point Shipyard.

The Navy’s announcement on the burning acknowledges that the fuel oil contained, among other contaminants, plutonium, which has a half-life of 24,000 years — meaning that plutonium particles released in the smoke produced by the burning will exist, somewhere in the environment, for thousands of years. The Navy claims that the amounts of radioactive contaminants released via burning were too small to harm either people or other organisms in the environment.

If inhaled and lodged in the lungs, even tiny particles of plutonium can cause cancer. Construction associated with redevelopment of the shipyard would, almost certainly, kick up large amounts of dust. The question is whether that dust might contain particles of plutonium. Not everyone is willing to simply accept the Navy’s safety claims.

“I’m glad we found out,” says Claire Trombadore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s project manager for the shipyard site. “Our main concern is what is there now, and is there a risk to human health, or the environment, or both? In our minds, what needs to happen now is to survey that.”

Navy officials did not respond before press time to questions about the possibility of additional radiation surveys in and around the shipyard. The Navy also did not answer questions about how, precisely, fuel inside the Operation Crossroads target ships had been contaminated.

Last year, the EPA surveyed parts of the Hunters Point Shipyard with its Scanner Van — a vehicle that, as its name suggests, scans for radioactive contamination as it moves. But the equipment carried by the van is so delicate it cannot be used off-road, and areas surrounding at least one of the buildings where radioactive fuel was burned remain untested.

According to officials at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a federal agency that monitors environmental health threats, there is no way to determine how individuals exposed to the burning might have been harmed. Those officials say the only way to know what, if any, problems might exist now is to test the ground for radioactive contamination.

Community members may well be asking the Navy for such testing in the near future.

“My concern is that the radiological standards were lower then [in 1947], and when you’re burning radioactive materials, including plutonium, that stuff went into the community,” says Maurice Campbell, a member of the Hunters Point Shipyard Restoration Advisory Board. “They’re trying to standardize this as a safe practice, when it wasn’t.”

http://www.eurocbc.org/usn_admits_burning_rdncontam_oil_21may2003page1032.html

– Nov. 18-22; Arne Gundersen speaks in SF Bay area on Fukushima-California connection

Arne Gundersen joins guest speakers at three events in the San Francisco Bay region this week. Details below.

http://nonukesca.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/SSUflyer-FNL.pdf —
Sonoma State University 11-18-15

http://nonukesca.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Gundersen-7.pdf —
Pt. Reyes, Marin County 11-21-15

http://nonukesca.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Gundersen-Berkeley-3.pdf
Berkeley 11-22-15

From No Nukes CA

World in Danger: The Fukushima-California Connection – with Arnie Gundersen

Former nuclear industry executive turned nuclear safety advocate ARNIE GUNDERSEN has over 40-years of nuclear power engineering experience, gave testimony in the investigation of Three Mile Island, and began studying the catastrophic failure at the Dai-lchi Nuclear Power Plant the day of the first explosion. Chief Nuclear Engineer at Fairewinds Energy Education, he has produced expert reports on California nukes & numerous informative videos & articles available at Fairewinds.org

Sonoma State University In Rohnert Park
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 7 pm:

“World in Danger: Fukushima” Arnie Gundersen in conversation with Professor Majia Nadesan, author of “Fukushima and the Privatization of Risk”

Student Union Building – Ballroom D – Sonoma State University – 1801 East Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park, CA $10 donation at the door, no one turned away – students FREE – Campus parking $5.00

A Fukushima Response Public Education Event Co-sponsored by: Sociology Social Justice & Activism Club, Sociology of Media Class, Peace Roots Alliance, Ecological Options Network & Project Censored
DOWNLOAD POSTER PDF

Pt. Reyes Station:
Saturday, November 21, 7 to 9 pm

Arnie Gundersen in conversation with Mary Beth Brangan, Co-Director Ecological Options Network – EON
FREE EVENT – DONATIONS APPRECIATED
Dance Palace (Church Space) 5th & B Streets, Pt. Reyes Station

Co-sponsored by Pt. Reyes Books, Fukushima Response, Cultural Potholes & EON – the Ecological Options Network

Contact Bing Gong binggong@sonic.net 415-663-1380

DOWNLOAD POSTER PDF to post in your community.

BERKELEY
Sunday, November 22, 7:00pm

World in Danger: From Fukushima to California
Featuring Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education Nuclear Engineer; Joanna Macy, Ecophilospher and Buddhist Scholar; Mary Beth Brangan of EON – the Ecological Options Network; Gar Smith, author of “Nuclear Rouletter”; Vic Sadot, singer-songwriter.

Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, 1924 Cedar St. @ Bonita, Berkeley

Sponsored by Berkeley Fellowship Social Justice Comm., Code Pink: Women for Peace, Fukushima Response Bay Area, Abalone Alliance Safe Energy Clearinghouse, S.F. Occupy Forum, BARC (Barkers Aggitating for Reactor Closure), Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter, Sunflower Alliance, NoNukesCa.net

Contact: cynthia_papermaster@yahoo.com, 510-365-1500

DOWNLOAD POSTER PDF

http://nonukesca.net/?p=799

U.S. utility regulators recommend nuclear power as clean and asks EPA to incentivize nuclear reactor construction

Today the professional association of public utility regulators in the U.S. — the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – approved several resolutions during their annual conference in San Francisco.
http://www.naruc.org/Resolutions/14%201119%20NARUC%20Board%20Substantive%20Resolutions%20Packet.pdf

One of these resolutions is about nuclear power. This resolution advances the interests of the nuclear power industry.

Astonishingly, it states

“In the absence of a public safety or environmental concern, the premature shutdown of these valuable assets may cause economic, social, reliability and environmental harm to families and businesses”.

The public utility commissioners ignored all the safety issues and problems from these plants. That is shocking. Was the accelerating Fukushima disaster even mentioned in their deliberations? What about the harm from not shutting down these plants and from the new ones they plan to build?

This resolution, directed to the Environmental Protection Agency, now represents the official position of the utility regulatory commissions in the United States.

For more information on this conference, here is the conference schedule of workshops and presenters
http://www.narucmeetings.org/MeetingPrograms/2014AnnualProgram.pdf
and the list of attendees
http://annual.narucmeetings.org/registrants.cfm?orderby=3

Though these are state officials supposedly working for the public, the conference is almost exclusively a conference of the commissions and the industry.

For an article on this conference –
http://smartmeterharm.org/2014/11/16/u-s-public-utility-regulators-in-san-francisco-nov-15-19-for-annual-conference-with-industry/

Note: “Baseload power” is an energy industry term for energy that is dependable and constant “all-the-time-on” power. Currently, that comes from coal, natural gas, nuclear, oil. To flip on a light switch and have the light always turn on requires baseload power. Wind and solar power are not baseload, because they are variable and undependable.

EL-1 Resolution Recognizing the Importance of Nuclear Power in Meeting Greenhouse Gas Goals

WHEREAS, Reliable, clean and affordable electricity is vital to local, State, and national economic growth, jobs, and the overall interests of citizens; and

WHEREAS, As demonstrated during the Polar Vortex of 2014, maintaining reliability and fuel diversity; while ensuring compliance with proposed carbon reduction rules, are common challenges for our States and we jointly recognize the need to maintain the existing, baseload nuclear generation fleet; and

WHEREAS, Nuclear power plants provide approximately 20% of the nation’s total electricity generation, and can provide carbon-free electricity for decades into the future; and

WHEREAS, On June 2, 2014, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued proposed regulations for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power plants, known as the Clean Power Plan, in which EPA identified the avoidance of the retirement of existing nuclear capacity as one of the “best system of emission reduction” (BSER) methods;[i]1and

WHEREAS, EPA states in its proposed regulations that policies “that…discourage premature retirement of nuclear capacity could be useful elements of GHG reduction strategies and are consistent with current industry behavior;” [ii] and

WHEREAS, Nuclear energy has played a substantial role in the achievement of existing GHG State or regional emission reduction goals to date, and continued operation of nuclear power plants is vital to States’ ability to economically meet new federal regulations, and provides an essential tool to manage risks associated with potential GHG emissions reduction requirements; and

WHEREAS, In the absence of a public safety or environmental concern, the premature shutdown of these valuable assets may cause economic, social, reliability and environmental harm to families and businesses; and

WHEREAS, The United States Department of Energy, grid operators, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) commissioners have cautioned that the premature shutdown of nuclear power plants could jeopardize both the nation’s electric reliability and the ability to timely address climate change; and

WHEREAS, The EPA’s proposed GHG regulations for existing power plants would lower a State’s allowed GHG emissions rate by counting approximately 6 percent of its nuclear capacity as being “at risk” and including this zero-carbon energy in the goal-setting formula, leading to lower (more stringent) emission rate targets for States that have nuclear power plants; and

WHEREAS, The EPA’s proposed rule treats new nuclear power plants under construction as though they are already operating, and uses their output in the rate-setting formula, which drives down the States’ emission rate goals, and

WHEREAS, State commission actions to approve the uprating of existing nuclear power plants or the siting of new nuclear power plants have and will play a substantial role in GHG emissions reduction goals; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, That the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, convened at its 126th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, urges the EPA, to the extent it regulates carbon from existing power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, to adopt final GHG rules and regulations that: 1) will encourage States to preserve, life-extend, and expand existing nuclear generation; and 2) remove the generic approximately 6 percent at-risk nuclear and nuclear under construction from the calculation of State-specific emissions targets; and be it further

RESOLVED, That, to the extent the EPA regulates carbon from existing power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, that States may include in compliance plans and thus receive emissions credit related to all output of new nuclear capacity (including uprates of existing plants) that begins operating after the issuance date of the proposed rule.

________________________________

Sponsored by the Committee on Electricity

Recommended by the NARUC Board of Directors November 18, 2014

Adopted by the NARUC Committee of the Whole November 19, 2014

 

[i] ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, 40 CFR Part 60, [EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602; RIN 2060-AR33, Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units, June 2, 2014, at p. 114.

 

[ii] Id., at p. 151-152