The Guardian reported that the U.S. Navy faces accusations from public-health advocates for covering up dangerous levels radioactive waste pollution in a former Navy Shipyard in California.
According to the report, the 866-acre Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, located in San Francisco, was once home to an undiscovered Navy research lab where animals were given strontium 90, a radioactive substance. According to the report, the isotope could have also been found in glow-in the-dark paint at the site. It may have washed off nuclear test ships or down drains. According to a report, the 40-acre parcel of land, where the former research laboratory stood, could be handed over to city officials and used for residential developments in 2024.
According to the report, the Navy had previously indicated that there was elevated contamination of strontium 90 in the shipyard. However, a subsequent assessment revealed levels below zero.
According to an NBC report, Dr. James Dahlgren, a toxicologist and environmentalist, reacted by saying that the reassessment was “completely erroneous”, “false”, and “offensive” to him scientifically.
According to NBC, Ray Tompkins was an environmentalist who participated in the 2011 cleanup project.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in its “superfund” list, a term used to describe the country’s contaminated areas.
According to the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper, a variety of cancers were found in the residential area surrounding the shipyard. The San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper suspected that the radioactive contamination from the shipyard was responsible for the cancers. Strontium 90 is deposited in the bone tissue of humans and can cause cancer over time. This was stated by Dr. Dahlgren on NBC.
A Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program environmental impact report published in May 2019, concluded that “no increase in radioactivity above background levels was detected during Navy and EPA surveillance of harbors in which U.S. Naval nuclear-powered vessels are based or overhauled.” The EPA classified strontium-90, as well as other radioactive elements, and heavy metals as contaminants of concern. The EPA also revealed that the site wasn’t ready to be used as planned due to contamination concerns.
According to a Guardian report, the Navy, represented in court by the U.S. Department of Justice is currently involved in 12 lawsuits relating to the site.