Bomb Blast Test Debate Resumes Near Tracy
DAN ADAMS / News10 Sacramento 18jul2007
[More on Depleted Uranium (DU)]
Residents who live near Lawrence Livermore Lab's Site 300 just west of Tracy expressed their concerns Wednesday over plans by the lab to conduct three large explosives tests there.
Residents at a meeting late Wednesday at Tracy City Hall got to hear exactly what air pollution experts will do before approving the proposed tests.
"They have a test site in Nevada. They should take that out there," said Bob Sarvey, who lives about three miles from the facility and is worried about possible radiation contamination.
Since 1955, Lawrence Livermore Lab has tested a variety of non-nuclear explosives at Site 300, located along a remote section of Corral Hollow Road in the rolling hills west I-580.
In recent years, those tests have been limited to less than 100 detonations of 100-pound explosives annually. Now, the lab has applied to conduct larger blasts.
"Our sole intention is just to do three, 350-pound tests at our Site 300 facility," said lab spokeswoman Susan Houghton.
In a letter sent to Tracy residents, Site 300 manager Jim Lane confirmed that small amounts of depleted radioactive uranium would be used in the explosives. The letter states "any doses to the public from such tests would be thousands of times less than the dose we all get every year from sources of background natural radiation such as cosmic rays and the natural uranium that is present in the environment."
But the Livermore-based grass roots group Tri-Valley CAREs, which has challenged the lab on previous projects, once again will oppose any attempts to increase explosives testing.
"These are actually new activities that are going to pollute the air, the soil, the water much more heavily than the past activities," said Marylia Kelley, executive director of Tri-Valley CAREs.
Lawrence officials charge opponents with hyping the radiation risk. "There are certain individuals who want to make this more than it really is," said Houghton. "I assure you we are not doing anything to harm the public. We would not. We live here too."