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.
he Site was formerly identified as two properties: 901 Thompson Place and 902 Thompson Place. These properties have been re-developed and now have a single address: 875 East Arques Avenue, Sunnyvale, California (see site location map). Land use in this area is primarily industrial and commercial. The 901-902 Thompson Place property was formerly occupied by Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) to manufacture integrated semiconductor circuits between 1969 and 1992. Two below-ground acid neutralization system (ANS) tank vaults were located at the northern and southern ends of the 901 and 902 Thompson Place buildings, respectively. The ANS tanks for both 901 and 902 Thompson Place were constructed of coated concrete and were used to contain acidic industrial wastewater that was neutralized by adding caustics before discharging to the sanitary sewer. The wastewater also contained volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Soil and groundwater investigations were conducted by AMD in 1983 and 1984 to assess the impact of releases from both ANS structures. The results of these investigations indicated the presence of VOCs in soil and groundwater samples collected from the area near the ANS structures. Both ANSs and surrounding VOC-affected soils were removed between 1983 and 1992. Groundwater extraction and treatment was conducted from 1983 until December 2002. In situ biological treatment of VOCs in groundwater and saturated soil has been conducted since 2002 and is ongoing.
Soil impacted primarily by VOCs was excavated from source areas ANS-901 and ANS-902 over three separate excavation events. The relatively low VOC concentrations in monitoring wells within the uppermost water bearing zone (approximately 10 to 20 feet bgs), where TCE concentrations have generally been less than 100 g/L down-gradient of the former ANS-901 source area, suggest that no substantial source for TCE exists in unsaturated zone soil at the Site.
The San Francisco Chronicle Site consists of an 80,000 square feet newspaper printing plant with a surrounding asphalt parking area. The Site occupies a 6.25 acre property located at 1901 Cesar Chavez Street (formerly Army Street) in San Francisco. It was occupied in the 1930s by the American Smelting and Refining Company under the Federated Metals Corporation name, Federated-Fry Metals Plant. The facility was used for brass ingot and lead production; materials used included brass and bronze scrap metals, oxide of tin and lead, and pure forms of these materials. Oxides formed during the melting process were taken off in the form of slags and were either recycled or hauled offsite. The property was acquired by the San Francisco Newspaper Agency in 1987. The existing structures on site were demolished and a new printing plant and a surrounding parking area were built at the site. Continue reading “SAN FRANCISCO NEWSPAPER AGENCY (38330104)”→
441 acres of Hercules California is contaminated with Explosives 41 acres of that area were contaminated with TNT and DNT, the rest with Dynamite and Black Powder. The site blew up in 1929 but was rebuilt and continued operations to 1960. The plant was the largest manufacturer of high explosives for World War I used by the Allies in the war. It was the largest source in the world at the time and it was used in World War II.
Munitions plants built bunkers underground to store their production and if there was an explosion the direction of the force would be up instead of spreading across the ground as it did in the Berkeley Explosion which wiped out the glass of San Francisco 8 miles away. But when the EPA came along and cleaned up the site, they only excavated 24 inches down and deemed the site safe enough to build housing on the site which is what we have today. What if this site had the bunkers? Has anyone checked to see if the contamination goes further into the soil?
What happens when you build a housing development and then 6 years later you find unexploded artillery shells on the property? Perhaps it might have been a clue that the property was once called the Benicia Arsenal and that during World War II it was an artillery range?
Prior to 1990, the Tourtelot Property consisted of approximately 220 acres of undeveloped grassland situated in the northwest corner of the former Benicia Arsenal. The Army leased the Tourtelot Property from 1944 to 1960 for artillery testing, ordnance and explosives (OE) demilitarization, and demolition of damaged and obsolete munitions. In 1990, Granite Management Corporation (Granite) began grading the site for home construction. In 1996, Granite found concrete-filled howitzer shells and live ordnance on the site. Granite then retained the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to characterize the site for OE and chemical impacts to soil and groundwater. Contaminants on the Tourtelot Property included: petroleum hydrocarbons; polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons; dioxins/furans (combustion by-products); volatile organic compounds; trinitrotoluene; and OE. Continue reading “Benicia CA – TOURTELOT PROPERTY (48970005) Housing on unexploded shells on Gunnery range”→
The property is owned by the Ohlone Community College District and is located southeast of the intersection of Mowry Avenue and Cherry Street in Newark, Alameda County, California. The Site is southeast of the George M. Silliman Recreation Complex, south of an Agilent Tech facility and Cherry Street, west of a drainage channel and north of an existing railroad line. A High School is located to the north across Cherry Street. The site has been used for agriculture since at least 1969. The Ohlone Community College District has consolidated soil containing pesticides above residential cleanup goals from the northern 31-acres of the Site into a 25-acre consolidation area within the southern 50 acres of the Site. The northern portion of the Site that was cleaned up to residential standards has been developed into a community college. The southern parcel with remain in agricultural use.
DAY CARE CENTER PROHIBITED ELDER CARE CENTER PROHIBITED HOSPITAL USE PROHIBITED LAND USE COVENANT NO EXCAVATION OF CONTAMINATED SOILS WITHOUT AGENCY REVIEW AND APPROVAL NOTIFY PRIOR TO SUBSURFACE WORK PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SCHOOL FOR PERSONS UNDER 21 PROHIBITED RESIDENCE USE PROHIBITED
The Property consists of a 2.3 acre lot that is being redeveloped as multi-family residences. Soil gas at the Site has been impacted by former dry cleaning operations (Henry Miller Cleaners, Marshall Steel Cleaners, and Payless Cleaners) that used volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including the dry cleaning solvent tetrachloroethylene (PCE or perc) in its cleaning processes. The dry cleaning businesses occupied the southern portion of the onsite building and operated between approximately 1965 and 1990. Continue reading “Fremont – PERALTA CROSSING (60002284)”→
The Barbary Coast Steel operated a steel manufacturing plant on this site from 1987 to 1991. Judson Steel was a previous owner since 1882. The primary use of the site was storing and melting scrap iron to produce reinforcing bars. IKEA purchased the property and signed Prospective Purchasers Agreement (PPA) with DTSC for future site development. As part of future development IKEA upgraded the cap. The IKEA store opened for business in May 2000. Continue reading “Emeryville CA – IKEA (FORMER BARBARY COAST) (01440005)”→
The Site is the proposed location of a bikeway connecting Maritime Street in Oakland and Shellmound Street in Emeryville. The proposed area was historically used for industrial, commercial or vehicle transportation corridors.
(a) A residence, including any mobile home or factory built housing, constructed or installed for use as residential human habitation. (b) A hospital for humans. (c) A public or private School for persons under 18 years old. (d) A day care center for children
POTENTIAL CONTAMINANTS OF CONCERN
Hazardous substances, including arsenic at 0.39 ppm, mercury at 2.1 ppm, lead at 190 ppm, and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHd) at 1,100 ppm remain at the Property above levels acceptable for unrestricted land use.
Note this was cleaned up to this standard which is fine for industrial use.
The site was formerly part of the Judson Steel Corp. founded in 1882. Judson Steel mainly used the site for storage and disposal of slag material. Metals (lead, chromium, etc) were present in the soil and hydrocarbons and volatile organics appear to be migrating via groundwater from surrounding properties. The source of the hydrocarbon contamination in the groundwater is believed to be the former PIE site located to the north. Under the authority allowed by the Polanco Bill, the City of Emeryville Redevelopment Agency granted liability immunity to Marriott Corporation.
ACTIVITIES PROHIBITED WHICH DISTURB THE REMEDY AND MONITORING SYSTEMS WITHOUT APPROVAL ASPHALT COVER NOT TO BE DISTURBED WITHOUT APPROVAL DAY CARE CENTER PROHIBITED ELDER CARE CENTER PROHIBITED HOSPITAL USE PROHIBITED LAND USE COVENANT NO EXCAVATION OF CONTAMINATED SOILS WITHOUT AGENCY REVIEW AND APPROVAL NO OIL OR GAS EXTRACTION AT ANY DEPTH NOTIFY PRIOR TO SUBSURFACE WORK PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SCHOOL FOR PERSONS UNDER 21 PROHIBITED RAISING OF FOOD PROHIBITED RESIDENCE USE PROHIBITED Continue reading “Emeryville CA – SHELLMOUND VENTURE PROJECT (01330039)”→