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Not so fast on the DU at PTA
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Over 2,000 radioactive spotting rounds may be left scattered on the ground at Pohakuloa under current Army and Nuclear Regulatory Commission plans.
Some may be hit by one-ton inert bombs dropping from three miles up, and by live-fire explosions. Some are fragmented. All are weathering.
No one knows exactly where all the depleted uranium (DU) spotting rounds are. Fewer than 1,000 of the 50,000 acres of the Pohakuloa impact area were surveyed. Survey locations were chosen based on records that may be incomplete. DU that has fallen into lava fissures is hidden from sight and from radiation detectors.
The air sampling is the wrong kind, says Dr. Lorrin Pang of Maui. He’s not welcome on the Pohakuloa Advisory Council (PAC) — though he’s a former Army doctor and advisor to the World Health Organization, and despite urging by State Rep. Josh Green and the Hawai’i County Council. The public’s not welcome either. And PAC hasn’t met for five months.
DU stays radioactive for over four billion years. How many years will funding come through to test for DU in our air, water, and soil?
Sierra Club calls for:
1. Army cooperation with County DU resolutions: no live-fire and inert bombs at Pohakuloa till assessment and cleanup are completed; effective air sampling; citizen participation in monitoring; and more.
2. Army participation in a future Sierra Club DU forum, with Dr. Pang.
3. A Hawai’i County Council invitation for Dr. Pang to speak.
3. A Nuclear Regulatory Commission visit to Pohakuloa — not just O’ahu DU sites.
5. DU evaluation of the entire Pohakuloa impact area, plus all current and former military sites on Hawai’i Island.
6. Posting of a bond by the Army for future DU cleanup at Pohakuloa.
We must take the time to get this one right.
Ms. Cory Harden,
Sierra Club, -Moku Loa group