Hawai’i: Military Radiation from Pohakuloa – Blowing in the Wind?

HEALTH, ANGLO AMERICA, MILITARISM, ASIA--PACIFIC, JUSTICE, ENVIRONMENT, 27 May 2013

James Albertini – TRANSCEND Media Service

Military radiation contamination at the 133,000-acre Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) in the center of Hawaii Island will be the subject of a meeting on Thursday, May 30, 2013. The meeting is NOT being held where it should be – on Hawaii Island. Instead, it is being held in Maryland from 8:30 – 11:30 AM Hawaii time in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) offices between NRC staff and the Army. The public can participate by phoning toll free 1-877-521-2306 with the passcode 9744768.

The issue is a draft license for the Army to possess Depleted Uranium (DU) which was confirmed in Hawaii at Pohakuloa and Schofield Barracks in 2007. The NRC has issued a “Notice of Violation” to the Army for the presence of DU in Hawaii. After years of denial, the military now admits to using DU radiation weapons in Hawaii as early as 1961 in the form of spotting rounds for the secret Davy Crockett nuclear weapon system. How much DU has been used in Hawaii over the years is in question. But since the Army says that DU was only banned in training in 1996 the amount of DU radiation contamination could be extensive. Radiation can be spread by ongoing bombing, the frequent high winds in the area, occasional heavy rains and flash flooding. Less than 1% of Pohakuloa has been surveyed for DU contamination and that with a questionable methodology contracted by the offender – the Army. Citizen radiation monitors have detected elevated radiation off base, including Mauna Kea State Park. The Army admits DU has been fired on ranges approximately one mile from the park.

The Army license to possess would cover 16 installations and up to 8.8 tons of DU. That’s just for the Davy Crockett DU spotting rounds used and does not include possible additional DU from many other DU weapons systems, past and present in the U.S. arsenal.

The major public health danger of DU radiation is inhalation of small alpha particles. Hawaii retired Army MD and MPH Dr. Lorrin W. Pang said “alpha particle emitters within your body is the most deadly form of radiation of all. It is stopped by your skin, but in your body it will mutate your DNA, more than any other type of radiation.” Doug Rokke Ph.D.; Major, retired/disabled; U.S. Army former Director, U.S. Army Depleted Uranium Project said “once DU is released into the environment… it will never be safe at all no matter what is done.” According to Dr. Rokke, “DOD documents confirm that potential health effects, include:  lung cancer, respiratory, eye, skin, and genetic abnormalities.”

The Army commander at PTA says DU is not a problem at PTA. Dr. Pang said “A lot of people… consider DU a weapon of mass destruction. Why would you have a guy (the Army) with a conflict of interest, doing his own quality assurance?” (See www.malu-aina.org for more info on DU)

In July 2008, the Hawaii County Council, by a vote of 8-1 passed resolution 639-08 that called for a halt to all bombing and live-fire at PTA and seven other actions out of concern about DU. According to Dr. Rokke, who wrote Army regulation 700-48 on DU, the Army is required to abide by local government actions, yet the bombing continues. Why?

Stop the Bombing!   Shut Down Pohakuloa!

  1. Mourn all victims of violence.
  2.  Reject war as a solution.
  3. Defend civil liberties.
  4. Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, anti-Hawaiian, etc.
  5.  Seek peace through justice in Hawai`i and around the world.

Malu `Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box AB Kurtistown, Hawai`i 96760.
Phone
(808) 966-7622.  Email ja@malu-aina.org   http://www.malu-aina.org

Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet (May 24, 2013– 609th week) – Friday 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 27 May 2013.

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One Response to “Hawai’i: Military Radiation from Pohakuloa – Blowing in the Wind?”

  1. Aloha e James,

    Mahalo nui loa for unceasing work in protecting our ʻaina and our people.

    aloha nui,
    Lilikala