By U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs, News ReleaseSeptember 13, 2010
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii - Results of the Army's recent depleted uranium Baseline Human Health Risk Assessment for the Pohakuloa Training Area impact area indicate no likely adverse impacts to current and potential future persons working on or living near PTA, due to DU present at PTA.
This survey was conducted in full partnership and disclosure with representatives of several other organizations with interests in environmental radiological and chemical contamination.
DU was first found within the boundary of the PTA impact area in October 2006. Subsequent investigations, conducted in coordination with state and expert partners, indicate that DU is not present outside of the impact area.
The purpose of the BHHRA is to evaluate the potential risk posed by residual DU in the PTA impact area. The risk assessment demonstrates that the presence of DU in the soil at the PTA impact area results in radiological doses, as well as chemical and radiological risks, well within limits for what is considered safe, by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Following EPA guidance and with input from partner organizations, five potential exposure scenarios were evaluated: current and future range maintenance workers; future construction and clean-up workers; future adult cultural monitors; future site workers, visitors and trespassers; and subsistence farmers living at the site boundary.
Each scenario considered four possible methods of contact, including incidental swallowing of soil containing DU, dust inhalation, skin contact with DU and direct exposure to gamma radiation.
Although access to the PTA impact area is tightly controlled and restricted to qualified, trained personnel, the Army is taking additional steps to ensure the health and safety of workers and that the local community is protected.
For example, the Army submitted a license application, which the USNRC is processing, to possess the residual DU in the impact area. In addition, the Army requires that those allowed routine access to the PTA impact area are qualified and trained to identify DU, and follow appropriate safety precautions and notification procedures while on-site.
Click here to view the BHHRA.