Nuclear Site in Alaska Did Not Let Radioactive Materials Escape, Federal Study Concludes

Nuclear Site in Alaska Did Not Let Radioactive Materials Escape, Federal Study Concludes
Federal officials at the U.S. Department of Energy released a study, which confirmed that the underground nuclear research site at Amchitka Island in Alaska had not leaked any radiation at the time, when the authorities run nuclear research there some several decades ago. The department runs tests to determine the radiation level here every five years. The previous sampling in 2011 showed no signs of radiation leaked. These results are so far confirmed by the 2016 sampling. Officials say interim results give grounds for optimism, as no tests have ever shown radiation at the site. A full report on the department’s research is scheduled for the end of 2019, report via AP news.

Another factor that might have potentially contributed to radiation leakage was the 2014 earthquake in Alaska. It damaged drilling muds filled with diesel, but officials say none of it escaped. However, the equipment is not repaired yet.

Amchitka, one of the Aleutian Islands, has been home to the native Aleut population for centuries. The U.S. military officials say they no longer lived there, when the military constructed their base at Amchitka after World War II broke out. It was then used as a base to conduct nuclear tests in the post-war years, in the 1960s and 1970s. The goal of the tests was to determine underground detonations of nuclear bombs. The last blow was 400 times more robust than the Hiroshima bomb. It raised the ground by some 20 feet and killed scores of otters. The latest report concluded that the remaining radiation has stayed within the subsurface and has not spread further. The local seafood was also concluded safe to consume.

Hundreds of people, who worked in Amchitka, were diagnosed with cancer caused by radiation, the data from the federal screening program showed. The screening program paid back for health insurance for employees who were exposed to radiation. However, people, who came to work in the island in the later years, did not receive any compensation for the radiation-caused diseases they contracted.

Amchitka island is located in Southwest Alaska and is now uninhabited. Environmental activists feared that powerful blasts would provoke tsunamis and earthquakes in the area that is already tectonically unstable.