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Researchers find Amchitka seafood safe for now

that may eventually pose potential risk to future generations." There is no currently known technology to address the radioactive shot cavities themselves; hence future surveillance is needed and the study serves to provide baseline data for that effort.

The Catalyst

In 2000 the Governor of Alaska specifically requested that DOE agree to fund and to ask that group, the Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation (CRESP) to do such an analysis. After the Secretary of Energy agreed and a 2002 CRESP/UAF workshop suggested a technical path forward, the State and the Department signed a Letter of Intent that assigned the four party team (see above) to approve a plan for the needed research and to help assure the independence of the CRESP study. 18 months after CRESP was given partial funding and the actual go-ahead in February 2003, it is reporting these substantive results.

Interpreting Complicated Data

One of CRESP's challenges was to analyze biological samples for a long enough time to know what levels of radionuclides were actually there (since some radionuclides are present in any marine system). It had then to distinguish whether what it did find might have come from the nuclear tests ?or was from other sources such as fallout, or even was naturally-occurring. For example, CRESP wrestled with what it meant to have more algae samples showing plutonium from Amchitka and more fish samples showing Cesium-137 from the reference site at Kiska. In all these cases the data was consistent as levels were both safe and what would have been expected anywhere in oceans in the Northern Hemisphere. CRESP PI Charles W. Powers says: "CRESP people are committed to explaining how we thought through all of the complicated issues posed by the data since the public deserves to have the same peace of mind that we have about what we found."

Study Distinctiveness

* Voluminous (300 pages of direct report and more than 10
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Source:Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey


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