Another from the inbox (and one re notes from Caldicott speak forthcoming next week):
Investigative Report on the Nuclear Reactor at Fort Greely—
A Legacy of Secrecy
A Fact Sheet from Alaska Community Action on Toxics
At the request of community members in Delta who are concerned about possible health effects from radioactive and chemical contamination at Fort Greely, Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) conducted an investigation of the Army’s nuclear reactor. This fact sheet summarizes the report, The Nuclear Reactor at Fort Greely—the full report is available upon request or on our website at www.akaction.net. The report is timely in light of recent developments with the missile defense system at Fort Greely because it raises questions about the health and safety of workers and local residents.
For ten years (1962-1972), the Army operated a nuclear reactor at Fort Greely, the SM-1A (Stationary Medium Power Reactor—first field installation and prototype). Some residents of Delta Junction suspect that there is a relationship between the reactor and high cancer rates in the community. Researchers from ACAT and physicist Norm Buske of Nuclear-Weapons-Free America and researchers from ACAT worked to analyze military documents and conduct a 10-day field investigation.
Our research shows that the U.S. Army at Fort Greely is responsible for extensive radioactive contamination through: 1) control rod accident—a near melt-down event in 1967 exposed workers to harmful levels of radiation; 2) radioactive steam heat to the post; 3) liquid radioactive waste discharged to groundwater and Jarvis Creek; 4) radioactive fallout; 5) solid radioactive waste disposal; and 6) long-lived radioactivity in the reactor still remaining on Fort Greely.
Perhaps the most significant finding of the report is that the U.S. Army disguised the true mission of the nuclear reactor at Fort Greely. Rather than a plant to provide heating and electricity to the base, the reactor was covertly designed and operated as a pilot plant to produce special nuclear materials suitable for use in battlefield weapons. Although it is small, the Greely reactor was and is capable of causing great harm to workers and local residents.
The following recommendations are necessary to hold the Department of Defense accountable:
- Department of Defense must declassify and provide factual information about the covert reactor mission, operations, and accidents that may have caused harm to human health and the environment.
- Designate Fort Greely as a National Priorities Site (Superfund) to provide greater oversight and funding for cleanup of radioactive and chemical contamination.
- Conduct independent investigation of the extent of groundwater contamination, consequences of radioactive fallout event, and solid radioactive waste.
- Use safe methods to clean up contaminated heating system on base.
- Develop protocol for long-term monitoring and removal of radioactivity in containment structure.
- Sponsor worker and resident health assessment conducted by independent researchers.
- Ensure responsible cleanup of radioactive and chemical contamination on Fort Greely.
For more information or to obtain the full report, call Alaska Community Action on Toxics at (907) 222-7714.