Sunday, August 19, 2012

'Treasure' island? Radioactivity reported on San Francisco isle

The city of San Francisco plans to convert former Naval base 'Treasure Island' into a residential neighborhood, but new reports by the US Navy and public health officials suggest the island may be more radioactive than previously believed.

Construction is set to begin on a planned 20,000-person high-rise community in 2013, right in the middle of scenic San Francisco Bay. Treasure Island, whose former facilities included a training center for radioactive decontamination, is already the site of multiple recreation centers and home to 2,500. But recent reports have put the city’s lofty plans for the manmade island on hold.

While the past use of the island as a naval site is public knowledge, new reports compiled by civilian investigators hired by the Navy have revealed that radioactive exercises at the base were more extensive than previously revealed.

The new Navy report and several emails cite numerous concerns from public health officials over the actual levels of leftover radioactivity, San Francisco-based nonprofit news publication The Bay Citizen reported.

New investigations have revealed that gun sights on Navy ships containing radioactive material were routinely repaired there. Several ships from the Pacific fleet that may have been contaminated by radiation from US nuclear bomb tests also underwent refits at the island.

The report showed that the Navy was so concerned about radioactive contamination on the island at one point that it built a ‘counting room,’ which would measure whether personnel had been overexposed to radiation. Read More