2016-04-28 / Letters
No evidence SSFL pollution has left site
The April 21 Acorn article “Questions raised on camp contamination” begins with a gross misstatement and contains other statements that warrant correction or clarification.
Years of testing for radionuclides and chemicals both on the SSFL site and in surrounding areas have consistently shown that, with a couple of very minor exceptions immediately adjacent to the site, there has been no measurable impact on the surrounding environment.
Also, almost all of the contaminated groundwater is contained in the bedrock beneath the site, and monitoring shows that it is not moving away from the site. Environmental monitoring in place at the time of the 1959 SRE accident conclusively showed that harmful radionuclides were not released from the reactor building.
While some residents may be concerned that contamination has migrated off-site, there are no empirical data to support those concerns. Government agencies have consistently stated that there are no off-site health effects attributable to SSFL.
This was again repeated by Department of Toxic Substances Control in a public meeting on April 12. On the same day, AJU/ Brandeis-Bardin released a complete report documenting past surveys as well as a new survey taken this year to supplement the detailed information already posted on their website. The data consistently shows no risk.
Why then does Dan Hirsch continue to badger AJU over Brandeis-Bardin? Contrary to your statement, as shown by its website, Committee to Bridge the Gap has always been an antinuclear organization, not an environmental organization.
The “full cleanup” advocated by Hirsch is simply a public relations fiction created by him. It’s defined nowhere in the cleanup literature of the EPA, DOE, NRC or anybody else. They all refer to a “protective cleanup,” which protects people and which is balanced against potential harm to surrounding communities and the environment from the cleanup itself.
It is quite possible that the harm caused by such a cleanup will far outweigh any possible benefits.
Cleanup decisions should not be based on unsubstantiated resident concerns. They should instead be based on data, science and real risk to surrounding communities, balanced with the negative impacts of the cleanup.