Radiation found in ground water near test site

Scientists are trying to determine a source, whether it is from nuclear testing or a natural source

The following article from the "Reno Gazette-Journal", March 2, 2000, was sent to us by Connie Pardew from Reno, NV.

   LAS VEGAS -- Nye County experts have discovered radiation in ground water outside the boundary of the Nevada Test Site that is 25 times higher than the federal drinking water limit.
   Nye County officials announced Wednesday that they are investigating the source and the type of radiation that is causing the reading in one of eight wells that act as an early warning system to detect radiation that maybe escaping the test site, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
   Nye County Commissioner Jeff Taguchi said the reading on one well monitor could be a mistake. It could also come from radiation naturally occurring in Southern Nevada’s rocks, he said.
   "Scientists are trying to determine a source, whether it is from nuclear testing or a natural Source," Taguchi said. "In the interest of public health and safety, we are informing the public about this preliminary finding."
   The wells, designed to detect radiation from 928 nuclear warhead experiments conducted at the test site from 1951 to 1992, also would serve to detect any radiation coming from a proposed high-level nuclear waste repository being studied at Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
   Yucca Mountain is the only site in the nation being considered as a repository for 77,000 tons of highly radioactive waste from commercial nuclear reactors and defense activities.
   Farmers and ranchers living downstream from the test site have expressed concern that radiation could seep into the ground water that grows crops and supports Nevada's largest dairy, Ponderosa Dairy.
   Neither the DOE’s Nevada Operations Office nor the Yucca Mountain Project Office had heard of the preliminary finding, and DOE tests have not found any radiation in Nevada ground water.
   Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., said the discovery "once again raises the credibility question for the Department of Energy."
   "While these tests are still in the preliminary stages, it does indicate that we need to continue our monitoring efforts to ensure the future safety of Nevada’s population."

Source: Associated Press
From "Reno Gazette-Journal", March 02, 2000

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