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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Treasure Island: How Radioactive Is It?

Posted By on Wed, May 28, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Now ... with wineries! 
  • Now ... with wineries! 

There are, currently, no fewer than seven wineries on Treasure Island. Grand future plans for the island call for 8,000 residential units, hotels, and the best views in all the Bay Area (provided you look past the proposed forest of dorm-like towers).

Only one problem: Just how radioactive is it? 

A yearlong project by the Center for Investigative Reporting culminated in an analysis of the soil beneath island residents' feet. The upshot: Reporters Katharine Mieszkowski and SF Weekly alum Matt Smith claim their readings indicate a greater presence of cesium-137 than the Navy has claimed. This isotope harks from the island's era of serving as an "atomic warfare school"; the cesium-137 that may be present could have been generated in the nuclear blasts that contaminated Navy ships at Bikini atoll; vessels from the Pacific were overhauled and dismantled at the island generations ago, at a time when Navy ships were returning from atomic tests inundated with fallout.
The resulting article led to an independent analysis of Treasure Island radiation conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Kai Vetter. And the results of his testing will be revealed on Tuesday at a San Francisco Commonwealth Club symposium

Depending upon how dire Vetter's report is, it could, quite literally, be a hot ticket event. 

Also appearing on the panel alongside the LBNL scientist will be George Moore, the scientist-in-residence at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey; Dale Smith of the Treasure Island Restoration Board, and -- no relation -- Matt Smith. 

Those with an interest in attending can click here

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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