If the State and the Feds cannot look out for its own people how can we rely on them to protect the public?
The Califormia Department of Public Health (CDPH) regulates all of the radiological contamination in the State of California. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Building, EPA Region 9 lab and the University of California Berkeley Richmond Campus are located right in the heart of Nuclear Alley in Richmond CA. This series will highlight 6 nuclear industry companies in the Port of Richmond that held Atomic Energy Commission Licenses for Nuclear Waste, worked directly with radioactive isotopes (radioactive elements like Uranium, Plutonium, Strontium 90, Cesium 137, Cobalt 60, Carbon 14 etc) and built machines used in the Nuclear Weapons industry.
All are within walking distance of these government facilites and they have never been cleaned up for their nuclear purposes. These government facilities need to be evacuated, because they were constructed after the contamination, which means:
Every surface exposed during contruction inside the walls and out will have to be swabbed to determine alpha and beta particles for identification of the isotopes as well as gamma readings for radiation.
All samples taken as evidence for all of Region 9 which includes, CA, OR, WA, HI, NV, the Pacific and the 148 Tribal Nations in all cases where the EPA and CDPH buildings have existed will have to be thrown out and resampled.
And most importantly every employee and every living being who stepped in these facilties will have to be evacuated and monitored for exposure for the rest of their lives.
Also note the Navy dumped nuclear waste directly into San Francisco Bay in 1946 and they covered it up by making sure to not notify the barge operators what they were dumping. Here is that COVER UP Document and a separate set of orders for all Navy Bases on the West Coast, the Pacific and Norfolk Naval Bases.
Safety Regulations have changed over the years and all sites cleaned up in the past, those standards are nuclear accidents today. All sites need to be re-evaluated for radiological contamination.
EPA Regulations on proximity means the UCSF and UC Berkeley Ergonomics Lab is within 200 feet of the Stauffer Chemical Plant making it part of the site.
The EPA has regulations on Proximity to toxic waste sites. I went into the law in detail in this article on the contamination range of Treasure Island to San Francisco.
To the EPA everything within 200 feet of a site is on the site. In this case of UC Berkeley everything to the east of Egret Way, which is where the UC BErkeley Bus drives down to unload students is within the 200 feet fo the Stauffer Chemical Company.
Near Neighbors are everything from 200 feet to a quarter of a mile and that makes the EPA Region 9 Laboratory within that range.
A Second Near Neighbor class is everything from a quarter of a mile to a mile away and that encompases the California Department of Public Health.
Then you have ranges for water and dust contamination that can go 4 miles, so these sites are all within a mile of the California Department of Public Health and all sites are within the wind range contamination of each other and the city of Richmond.
GE Nuclear in Vallecitos Nuclear Center in Pleasanton, transported Nuclear Reactor Fuel Rods to Richmond to be sent to France to be processed in their Breeder Reactors and then sent back to GE through the Port of Richmond. To move nuclear materials you have to lay out the route and if you ever have seen the movie Superman these trucks are oversized. This also happened in the Port of Oakland. the shipping agreements are below.
They expected more shipments under this regulatory supervision.
I was about to type up a report on Fairchild Semiconductors in Mountain View using Tritium as a light source for their LCD displays at what is now a Google Quad building on 434 Ellis Street, Mountain View when I came upon this report showing Tritium being delivered to Apple at 19050 Pruneridge Ave Cupertino. 10.5 curies of Tritium which is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that has a half life of 12.32 Years. This is an invoice for 4-01-2016 to 6-30-2016 and the cover sheet for the invoice is below. Source is Document at Nuclear Regulatory Commission website
On the left is a nuclear reactor core, on the right is the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve Trailhead. This company would have a nuclear disaster in a sister plant in New Jersey which resulted in the closure of all of their plants nationwide due to mismanagement.
International Nutronics Inc ran the Palo Alto reactor also had a reactor in Dover New Jersey (below) that had a serious nuclear accident which the company did not report to the NRC and this resulted in the closure of this reactor in Palo Alto. The company started off at 200 Third St. Los Altos but they had three reactor sites, one in Irvine and this one and the Dover New Jersey plant and a sewage Treatment plant in Menlo Park where they irradiated sewage to kill bacteria.
The Palo Alto facility had 750,000 Curies of C0-60 source and was used to irradiate food to kill bacteria and for cleaning medical equipment. Basically they would place these things in containers over the reactor and open it up to be irradiated.
TRW Microwave was registered with the State of California’s Department of Health with a Radiological Materials License and here is a list of their isotopes they received :
PM-147 Promethium 147 (half life 2.6234 y) which goes through Beta Decay to become Samarium 147 (half life of 1.062278031456×1011 y) which emits an alpha particle to become stable Neodymium 143
TL-204 Thallium 204, yes the deadly poison, (half life) decay7s in two ways, one is a beta particle to Lead 204 which is a long term alpha particle emitter and the other is by electron capture to Mercury 204 which then emits 2 beta particles to become radioactive Lead 204 which although is considered stable it emits an alpha particle to become Mercury 200.
CD-109 Cadmium has a half life of 462 days so the use of this isotope has to be very specific to be ordered for TRW. All of these isotopes are By Product meaning they were made in a nuclear reactor.
SR-90 Strontium 90 half life of 28.9 years is one of the isotopes that are the result of nuclear explosions or nuclear reactors. It goes through beta decay to become Yttrium 90 which has a half life of 2.662037037037 days to become Ziconium 90. Strontium 90 is one of the worst isotopes for contamination as it has a long half life and it along with Cesium 137 and Cobalt 60 are what people fear in fallout from a nuclear explosion.
Beta, e and then 2 beta
The report below does not give amounts but a quick search reports many companies including Teledyne in Palo Alto receiving another list of isotopes and unfortunately the State of California is terrible at keeping records of radio-isotopes and their transfers. There is a whole list of sites and I will be posting those under separate articles.
Silicon Valley was Nuclear Valley before it was Silicon Valley, it was the nuclear industry with its need for precision equipment that fueled the creation of these companies.
This is TRW’s heath and Safety Manual. Note on page 16 the list of isotopes used
Given that the Superfund site is the G. E. Intersil site, this associates it with the San Jose G. E. nuclear reactor assembly plant where they were assembling portable nuclear reactors for the US Army, a project started in the mid 1950s when radiological contamination levels were very relaxed and when they were strengthened in 1959 to 1/3 of what they were before, so all of these reactors were too hot for safe use. The entire program was scrapped by 1965. But this program required a large amount of new electronics and this brought about the beginnings of Silicon Valley.
Unfortunately for the people of San Jose they were dumping waste directly into the sewer system using 1955 standards which are nuclear accidents today. That is the problem with nuclear radiation, the clean up standards of the past, including the most recent past have been less and less radiation so that a site cleaned up 25 years ago is an accident today!
These were portable nuclear reactors that you could put on a truck, a transport plane, a ship or a train and bring it to a military site that had a deep pool with all of the necessary hook ups to set up a nuclear reactor to power the base or for colleges and universities. These reactors had no meaningful shields and were a serious radiological hazard to modern specifications.
There were several other portable nuclear reactor plants in the Bay Area, two I featured in this article Two nuclear reactors sites, 369 Whisman Road Mountainview (now Google) and San Ramon CA where the EPA should also look into assessing the damage to the environment and the people who now live within range of those reactor sites. The 369 Whisman Road reactor site had a high curb surrounding the building to contain the radioactive waste!
The EPA has regulations on conducting radiological surveys for sites and basically everything within 200 feet of a site is considered on the site, that goes for chemical contamination as well as radiological. DTSC has interpreted this to mean the property lines of toxic waste sites but the EPA has different rules. Then there is the distance from the contamination to a quarter of a mile is considered a near neighbor and the distance from a quarter of a mile to a mile is also a near neighbor but with a different set of calculations. The danger is evaluated based on the population near a site so in the case of Apple, this could be a big problem for them. How many people work in their Wheel?
It depends on what happened to the Kr 85 which is a Byproduct Material, meaning it came out of a nuclear reactor and cannot be dumped in low level radiation facilities but would have to be disposed of most likely in the Nevada Test Site.
In order to use an isotope like this, the facility would require a hot cell which is a device or room to store radiological isotopes usually with mechanical hands to remove the isotope from the container and use it in whatever industrial process GE was using at the time and the necessary Geiger counter device to measure the Beta radiation from this isotope. It has a half life of 10 years so its still hot. Some hot cells are portable and look like aquariums or those isolated rooms with hands you see in movies or TV shows.
If the radiation was used on a device that has since decomposed in the soil, then you have the larger ranges of water and air contamination that can go out 4 miles from the site.
The Question is, does the EPA know that the isotope was used on the site. Given the other sites in the Bay Area I would give my opinion as to say no, but this will have to be looked into.
If the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had done its job, then there would be a set of inspections and a series of surveys to confirm the radiological isotopes were disposed of property and how they were used.
Google currently occupies the location where American Standard built portable nuclear reactors that were sent overseas in trade shows for the Atomic Energy Commission and for colleges and universities. The AEC shut down the facility because it was located in a densely populated area and given the accidents from these reactors and that the location had no shielding or even containment for the radioactive gasses and radioactive water, it was decided to pull the plug on the reactors. They had two reactors on site and built these reactors for other entities:
Iowa State University Virginia Polytechnic Institute / North Carolina State college Australia (Atomic Energy Commission) Japan (Kinki University) Osaka Japan (Tokai University)
From the report page 6:
“B. Reactor Building The reactor will be housed in an existing 20′ x 32′ x 14′ eave height steel frame reactor building. The building is supported on a reinforced concrete foundation and has corrugated steel walls and roof and a concrete floor sealed with Amercoat. A concrete curb around the base of the building will prevent run off of radioactive water. Gas-tight construction has not been provided. Entry to the building is provided by two sliding doors, which may be locked with a padlock. A stairway provides access to the top of the reactor. A one-ton electric hoist is available for removing the concrete closures from the reactor”
Note the curb around the building to prevent run off of radioactive water and the padlock on the door for security. Remember this is for two nuclear reactors.
This reactor type was based on the Argonne reactor which had some serious defects causing a melt down.
This site was associated with the GE Vallecitos Nuclear Reactor site which is located near Sunol which is next to the San Antonio Reservoir. Let us hope that the creek does not empty into the water supply! In this map the site is near the middle 84 marker on this map and you can see Little Valley Road to its west.
How could the state of California allow a shopping mall to be built on top of a Uranium processing plant in the middle of the city of San Jose CA?. The site dumped radioactive waste directly into the city’s sewer system according to 1957 standards for disposal of nuclear waste into city sewer systems.
But 1957 standards for radiation exposure are nuclear accidents today. For example, in 1957 the maximum exposure for workers to be 1500 mrem of radiation a week for a person to be safe, that’s 18 full Rems a year. Today 5 REMS is the maximum amount for a nuclear worker a year but for civilians living on the site 0.1 REM or 100 mrems per year is the limit for safety for members of the public, the people of San Jose. 1 REM is 1000 mrems.
When the state says it was made safe, ask them what year and what were the standards back then!
The project is a redevelopment property within the Teledyne-Spectraphysics (T-S) plume with underlying groundwater probably impacted by the upgradient T-S source properties. The developer plans to construct the building wiht a vapor intrusion mitigation system (VIMS) and water barrier. Indoor air testing will be conducted to verify that the VIMS is working as designed.