Three decades after officials detonated nuclear bombs under a remote Aleutian Island, a scientific panel has determined that fish and other wild foods in the area are safe to eat, according to a report issued Tuesday.
ANCHORAGE Three decades after officials detonated nuclear bombs under a remote Aleutian Island, a scientific panel has determined that fish and other wild foods in the area are safe to eat, according to a report issued Tuesday.
Scientists warned, however, that regular monitoring is necessary to check whether radionuclides have begun seeping out of the cavities that were created when bombs were exploded at Amchitka Island from 1965 to 1971.
"All of the radionuclide levels that we found were well below human health standards," said Rutgers University's Joanna Burger, who led the study's biological analysis, but added "Amchitka is not a site that's going away. The contamination is (still) there."
The report was issued Tuesday by the Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Shareholder Participation, a U.S. Department of Energy-funded project. The report was conducted long after native Aleuts and commercial fishermen began voicing fears about possible lingering contamination.
The study evaluated fish, birds, marine mammals and sea plants from Amchitka, about 1,300 miles southwest of Anchorage. Another Aleutian Island, Kiska, was used as a control.
Scientists also noted that radionuclide levels will remain low, barring a "powerful earthquake or volcanic eruption" that could speed up the release of contaminants into the environment.
Alaska state officials and Alaska Native activists fiercely opposed the controversial nuclear tests, and a sea voyage made to Alaska to protest the Amchitka detonations resulted in the founding of the environmental organization Greenpeace.