The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun

   Saturday, May 06, 2000   Paducah, Kentucky

Letters to the Editor


Time for DOE, White House to come clean
on gaseous diffusion health disaster

EDITOR:

I have read the Sun's reporting of the DOE's Paducah plant with interest since the news broke last year. I live near a similar DOE plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn., with many health problems from decades of poor operation and management of the plant, which was eventually shut down.

DOE and its contractors around Oak Ridge have zero credibility for all the health and environmental cover-ups that happen here, and I see more of the same happening in Paducah. Add to this the foot-dragging on diagnosis and reporting of worker illnesses, many of which are obviously tied to hydrogen fluoride (HF) exposures, and there is no credibility left.

We have found down here if things are going to get done each person has to step up and take hold of the problems and force the issues to prevent the denials of DOE and its minions.

Reports from the 40s exist that show that in gaseous diffusion plants the fluorine atoms are a thousand times more prevalent than the uranium ones in worker exposures. Many of the health symptoms also match those long connected with HF-releasing industries. DOE knows this effect dominates health effects, and it's not reporting it.

Currently the high focus on radiation at these plants appears to hide the most significant toxic emission that not only has affected worker health, but entire communities.

The current compensation proposed for these workers won't even cover their medical bills in many cases, and it leaves them and their families stranded.

This appears more a quick bribe to try and quench these problems before the election year. Where did the bribe offer come from, the executive White House and the offices of Al Gore?

It is time for full accountability of DOE and its friends in the White House and for all to come clean on the gaseous diffusion health disaster.

JIM PHELPS

Knoxville, Tenn.