Nuclear Health and Safety:

Sites Used for Disposal of Radioactive Waste in Alaska

RCED-94-130FS: Published: Jul 6, 1994. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed whether: (1) any adverse health and safety consequences occurred as a result of the former Atomic Energy Commission's Project Chariot; and (2) the federal government disposal of radioactive wastes at other abandoned sites in Alaska.

GAO found that: (1) the amounts of radioactive materials at the Project Chariot site do not appear to lead to adverse health effects; (2) the federal government has disposed of or stored radioactive materials at six Army and Air Force installations in Alaska; (3) the radioactive materials at the six sites consist primarily of nuclear power reactor cooling water and smoke detectors; (4) although the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory has been decommissioned and conveyed to a Native American corporation, the Navy plans to perform a radiological survey of the facility in 1994 to determine whether any radioactive materials are present; (5) the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency are monitoring an area at Amchitka Island where underground nuclear tests were performed from 1965 through 1971; (6) the Army Corps of Engineers must determine whether 138 other decommissioned or conveyed defense facilities are contaminated by hazardous or radioactive materials and whether these and sites at five other nonfederal facilities require remedial actions; and (7) of the five nonfederal sites, three have been used to store pipes contaminated with naturally occurring radioactive oil and two have been used to dispose of radioactive wastes from university research projects and aircraft manufacturing.

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