UCSF Releases Report on Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Testing Protocols

By Laura Kurtzman

Scientists from UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have concluded an independent review of the appropriateness of the radiation testing protocols used by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the U.S. Navy to assess radiation contamination at the Hunters Point Shipyard. This review was done at the request of the City and County of San Francisco.

UC scientists examined the procedures that CDPH used to test surface soil for gamma radiation on the Hunters Point land known as Parcel A, where people now live and where more housing is planned. In their report, the UC scientists conclude that CDPH’s Radiological Health Branch used the appropriate procedures to scan surface soil on Parcel A for radiation.

The UC experts write that the extensive excavations for the redevelopment of Parcel A, which previously was the site of housing for naval officers, make it unlikely that radioactive materials are buried deeper in its soil. The scientists recommend that the City and County of San Francisco meet with residents of Parcel A to discuss whether the disruption that further radiation testing of the parcel would cause is worth the effort.

Scientists also reviewed the protocols that the Navy plans to use to retest soil samples at Parcel G, a Hunters Point Superfund site where a fraudulent cleanup effort was conducted by a Navy contractor in the early 2000s. The scientists write that they believe the protocols are appropriate, but that the Navy’s final plan should also be approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The scientists recommend that San Francisco City and County officials work closely with the EPA to oversee the Navy’s retesting plan for Parcel G and communicate this to the community. They write that they agree with the EPA that a final determination on whether Parcel G is safe to build on should not be made until all the retested data have been reviewed.