Jul 1, 2009

LANL Winding Down Search for Health Records

Associated Press

LOS ALAMOS — Los Alamos National Laboratory is winding down a decades-long project to find historical records dealing with chemical and radioactive releases from the lab and health-related issues.

The issue of releases from Los Alamos has long been an important one to people around the facility, where scientists have researched and developed nuclear projects dating back to World War II. The Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment Project was an attempt to review the lab's historical operations and identify documents that shed light on releases of chemicals and radioactivity since 1943.

The project director, Tom Widener of ChemRisk Inc., told a public meeting in Pojoaque last week that the documents don't provide a reconstruction of detailed radioactive doses.

"What we have done is a long way from a detailed dose reconstruction, but we were hoping to direct resources and attention to those things that warrant a closer look," he said.

A draft report expresses confidence there's enough information to reconstruct public exposures from the most significant releases, which would allow health professionals to judge if significant impacts on health should be expected.

However, the report acknowledges some documents may never be found because they have been lost or destroyed, and said others will never be read because they are not legible. It also said many participants are no longer alive.

Some people have called for the project to be extended, but Charles Miller, a representative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there's no budget for additional work. The CDC sponsored the project.

Lab managers said they are taking the study seriously.

"We're in the process of carefully reviewing the draft final report and will submit a technical response during the 30-day comment period," Los Alamos officials said in a prepared statement. "We will also request an independent peer review by the National Academy of Sciences."

A letter from Tennessee State University public health researcher Ken Silver, who has studied releases from the lab, and others contend the draft report has shortcomings, including no response to a document about a 1969 incident "in which levels of radiation went sky-high" in a hot cell at a lab facility.

"Monitoring reports I obtained in 1996 under the Freedom of Information Act had the handwritten notation, 'These figures should not be recorded on yearly reports,"' Silver wrote. He said the project accepted the official position that the lab facility room specified was not in use at the time.

Project leaders also named a panel of experts to participate in a final review of the draft. The review will decide what future steps are taken and what specific issues, if any, are examined more closely.


Anonymous said...

"Monitoring reports I obtained in 1996 under the Freedom of Information Act had the handwritten notation, 'These figures should not be recorded on yearly reports,"' Silver wrote. (News Article)

What happens in Los Alamos stays in Los Alamos.

Anonymous said...


i think i liked the grippy shoes better.

Anonymous said...

"We will also request an independent peer review by the National Academy of Sciences."

Coded words for: "Let's get some of our guys in on this. Like a murder trial, you only need one or two sympathizers to water down the verdict."

Anonymous said...

Doug, Frank, I again ask if you would consider one day to consider actions at county that impacts lab's gross receipts, jobs in Los Alamos, if I see the go ahead from you in some story line this is what I would initially post as a story:


I begin by thanking you for the time that you donate to our community. Serving for no compensation or very little compensation is public service at its most humble level. It is a very difficult thing indeed but - and this is a but - lately we are losing our way.

I cannot even profess to follow every action on your part as I stopped attending the Tuesday meetings when they became excessively long and since I was required to go to my work the next day, I had to leave before given an opportunity to speak on some things I would have liked it. It is with some regret that I express my opinion that I believe you have forgotten one of the fundamental reasons for these meetings and that is to garner information from us, the citizens who voted for you. And this again is strictly opinion but I sometimes feel that there is too much non-public discussion (and pre-meeting decision making) between the council members/administration.

You have often said that you are the council who moved ahead. And you have as there are new, big, expensive buildings being erected rapidly but it is all for the county! It is proper form I have been told when I broached a council member about what happened to the new urbanism development at Trinity that there can be no disclosure, and questions from the public are simply not wanted but we would hear soon. When is soon? It is of utmost concern that our votes on taxes over the past four years were largely predicated on that there was something in it for us, common citizens: retail, restaurants, trails – but this has not occurred. But the county has taken care of itself quite nicely. I do not begrudge county employees better working conditions but the excesses are obvious.
There has been disclosure recently that Mr. Baker is retiring. I request that you use this opportunity to bring some much needed change to the administration. Specifically I would request that honesty, openness, integrity and ability to get things done in a timely and cost efficent manner be key things you value. I think Mr. Baker has done his best and is an honest person but relies on staff that does not necessarily share similar values, and the public speaking skills of the administrators do not inspire our community. I have heard that Trinity retail is still around the corner but because of the length of time it has taken, this community has lost much. It will undoubtedly get less money for the land that has drastically reduced in value. I also ask that you find an administrator who is dynamic and charismatic, has a vision, communicates the vision and makes that vision a reality. If I may summarize, let’s get a leader in there.

It is a realization that you all are very busy but I thank you for reading my comments. I close by asking that you no longer embrace the shield of negotiations-in-process to deny communications with your citizens.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the new "LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER" sign, I nearly rear-ended a bicyclist yesterday because of this distracting sign having been placed just before the stoplight at Diamond and E. Jemez where traffic is coming to a halt. What fools these LANS safety morons are!

Anonymous said...

What fools these LANS safety morons are!

7/2/09 7:42 PM

Morons? Their jobs are all safe and secure at LANL under LANS. Is yours?