Politicized, Anti-Science Effort to Set Lax Radiation Protection Standards
The EPA requested (and funded) the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to study the state of scientific knowledge on the risks to human health of “low doses” of radiation. NAS found that there is no safe level of radiation; all doses increase the risk of cancer; and “low-level” radiation is about a third more dangerous in inducing cancer than EPA currently presumes in setting radiation standards to protect the public. You would think EPA would now tighten its regulations accordingly. You would be wrong. EPA staff has now proposed ignoring the Academy’s recommendations and setting lower radiation risk figures than the NAS had found. In 27 of 28 comparisons between the NAS findings and the EPA recommendations, the EPA proposals were more lax (i.e. would result in more risk to the public). Bridge the Gap, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, and Public Citizen have disclosed this scandal.
Click here for our joint statement.
Bridge the Gap and the Sierra Club recently discovered a proposed contract by which radioactive wastes from decommissioning the Rancho Seco nuclear plant would be sent out of state for disposal in landfills not licensed or designed for radioactive waste. This would effectively bypass a victory by CBG in state court several years ago that overturned a regulation that would have permitted such unlicensed dumping in California, and an administrative moratorium on such practices in the state that we got adopted. CBG and the Sierra Club filed a complaint with the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) Board, which resulted in a reversal by SMUD and a commitment not to send radioactive waste to unlicensed disposal sites [click here to see SMUD’s response]. This victory is important not only for our region, but more broadly, since other radwaste generators would likely have used “SMUD does it” as an excuse for exploiting the same loophole.
- See CBG/Sierra Club Complaint to SMUD Board (click here)
- See the SMUD Board’s response letter (click here)
In an April 2006 presentation, CBG details exceedences of radioactive strontium-90, and a complete failure by the Water Board to take action. You can view this presentation in a variety of formats:
Hearing Date : 1/19/06
Result: The Regional Water Quality Control Board refused to grant Boeing a relaxed pollution permit.
Rocketdyne has violated its pollution discharge permit from its nuclear/rocket testing site dozens of times in the last few months. The Regional Water Quality Control Board, rather than enforcing the pollution limits in the face of these persistent violations, has now proposed relaxing the rules to allow Rocketdyne to keep violating the limits for years to come. Come and speak at this public hearing to oppose this dangerous proposal. For more information, call us at (310) 478-0829 and see Bridge the Gap’s comments on the two proposals to be voted on at the hearing:
A nuclear Katrina in the Making 1/11/2006
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today issued guidelines for responding to a radiological “dirty” bomb that would permit doses to the public equivalent to tens of thousands of chest X-rays without requiring intervention and cleanup. The federal government estimates radiation doses that large would produce cancer or leukemia in a quarter of those exposed. (This is on top of the number of cancers that would occur in the absence of the extra radiation exposure.)