Tri-Valley CAREs'

More PCBs Discovered at Livermore Lab

by Marylia Kelley
from Tri-Valley CAREs' January 1999 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

On Dec. 24, Livermore Lab announced the discovery of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in soil in the eastern sector of Livermore Lab - just inside the east gate, near the National Ignition Facility construction site.

PCBs have been linked to liver and other organ damage as well as cancer in humans, and since 1976 their use has been banned. Further soil testing at Livermore has been ordered to determine the extent of the contamination, which is in an area called the east traffic circle.

According to the Lab, in October about 300 cubic yards of dirt was removed from the east traffic circle to correct a drainage problem. The soil was tested, and on Dec. 17 the Lab learned that one sample had 98 parts per million of PCBs, while another sample contained 120 ppm. The EPA limit is less than half that, at 50 ppm, and many cleanups are done to a level closer to 1 ppm.

The traffic circle is included in a special environmental review stemming from a court order won by Tri-Valley CAREs and 38 other plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the DOE's "Stockpile Stewardship" program. The order was signed by Federal Court Judge Stanley Sporkin after a backhoe accidentally uncovered a toxic dump in the NIF construction site containing over 100 large electrical capacitors laden with PCB-contaminated oils (and, ironically, buried at the conclusion of another Livermore Lab fusion program).

The additional environmental analyses were ordered to determine whether there may be more toxic threats in the area. This new PCB discovery answers that question in the affirmative.

A new, Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and a public hearing on the hazards of NIF construction are pending.

Marylia Kelley
Tri-Valley CAREs
(Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)
2582 Old First Street
Livermore, CA USA 94550 - is our web site, please visit us there!

(925) 443-7148 - is our phone
(925) 443-0177 - is our fax

Working for peace, justice and a healthy environment since 1983, Tri-Valley CAREs has been a member of the nation-wide Alliance for Nuclear Accountability in the U.S. since 1989, and is a co-founding member of the international Abolition 2000 network for the elimination of nuclear weapons.