Department of Energy Long-Term Stewardship and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

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Department of Energy’s Long-Term Stewardship Study
Public Scoping Meeting - San Francisco CA - December 14, 2000

"DOE held a public workshop on December 14, 2000 to allow additional information exchange and discussion with the public. Discussions and comments received were recorded by note-takers. Although the discussions were not included as formal public comments, these discussions were considered by DOE in developing the Final Study."

The following is an excerpt from a presentation by James D. Werner, Program Director, Office of Long-Term Stewardship. This first half of the recording includes two comments at the end by Berkeley residents Pamela Sihvola and L A Wood regarding the lack of an honest, inclusive public process at DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. They also made public the lab's insistence that our Berkeley community pay $42,000 up front for access to DOE's and LBNL's environmental documents.

As DOE’s Berkeley history has shown, from the early 1990s RCRA "investigations" into LBNL's "Accelerated Cleanup”, there has only been a token effort made by the Lab to protect this public land. In fact, at the time of this scoping meeting in 2000, LBNL was well down the path to declaring their site a “brownfield”, or in California terms, a “Containment Zone”. With this declaration Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory had, in a regulatory sense, opted out of any further cleanup or requirements to fully characterize their hillside laboratory. This is the legacy of DOE’s “stewardship” that the federal agency has left Berkeley.

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ALSO VIEW

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act RCRA -Public Workshop & Hearing LBNL "Sitewide CleanupVideo
Lab’s ’Stealth’ Emissions Hurt Environment: Independent review needed
L A Wood, The Daily Californian, June 23, 2000
Long-Term Stewardship Study Final Report 10-2001


Department of Energy Long-Term Stewardship Study Public scoping meeing Dceember 14, 2000 James D. Werner, Program Director, Office of Long-Term Stewardship at the Department of Energy Long-Term Stewardship Study Public scoping meeing Dceember 14, 2000
LBNL Environmental management staff at the Department of Energy Long-Term Stewardship Study Public scoping meeing Dceember 14, 2000 Berkeley community commeting at the Department of Energy Long-Term Stewardship Study Public scoping meeing Dceember 14, 2000
Department of Energy Long-Term Stewardship Study Public scoping meeing Dceember 14, 2000 Department of Energy Long-Term Stewardship Study Public scoping meeing Dceember 14, 2000

Lab’s ’Stealth’ Emissions Hurt Environment
Independent review needed
L A Wood, The Daily Californian, June 23, 2000

Past accounts of radiation leading to the Manhattan Project portray an era when security concerns were put far ahead of all others, including that of environmental protection. This mindset is certainly reflected in the history of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is scattered amidst the UC Berkeley central campus and hill area.

Up to the 1990s, the laboratory was subject to few regulations and little critical oversight.

In recent editorial response to the historic UC Berkeley exposure on the central campus, the lab's Environmental Health and Safety management attempted to sell the idea that radiation exposure has never been a problem on central campus. Lab staff say the problem is not tritium but the public, who is simply not in a position to understand the science.

Yet when questioned directly about emissions at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Calvin Lab on central campus, the management team chose to skirt the issue.

Your readers should know that Iong before the National Tritium Labeling Facility was built, research work that used tritium labeling existed on central campus. Calvin Lab was one of the first Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory tritium labeling facilities. The management team insisted that the data for this time period paints a picture of sound environmental management.

But when the community requested critical data from this period, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory wrote back and said the data could not be found.

Given this low level of accountability, one can only conclude that most of the shipments of tritium, from the 1970s to the present, were more likely to have gone up the stacks than out the door as product.

Missing data make it virtually impossible to fully quantify environmental compliance or actual health risks. The management team has continued to hide behind this fact.

The lab assures us that, with oversight by the Environmental Protection Agency and a more enlightened regulatory climate, Berkeley has nothing to worry about.

Unfortunately, the laboratory's past regulatory oversight has been extremely problematic. Today, this has created an almost unnatural relationship between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Environmental Protection Agency.
They find themselves acting as a tag team, attempting to wrestle the focus of a community-driven tritium investigation away from any examination of past releases or review of government oversight.

What kind of science and oversight is this that allows a lab to claim, for the benefit of its health risk assessment, that the maximally exposed person is a residence 60 meters away?

This gross misrepresentation is carried over to the superfund evaluation at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Where is the maximally exposed person really, at the Lawrence Hall of Science children's museum or the Calvin Lab, or both?

If the current emissions released at Calvin are similar to those recorded in 1995, then it's time to call for the closure of Calvin Lab and a truly independent investigation of Calvin's emissions.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory appears to have been successful in avoiding the environmental reporting process for nearly 60 years. At last month's Tritium Task Force meeting, the management team referred to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as the "stealth lab" and mused how the UC Berkeley community didn't know until recently that the lab existed in the middle of central campus. What he failed to mention is that Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's environmental management continues to be "stealth management" and that this posture has only exacerbated the tritium emissions debate and compounded the lab's problems



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