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DOE Releases Biological Monitoring and Sampling Results Report for the Amchitka, Alaska, Site

October 28, 2013 - 3:39pm

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — The U.S. Department of Energy today announced the availability of the Amchitka Island, Alaska, Biological Monitoring Report 2011 Sampling Results for the Amchitka, Alaska, site. The report provides the results of terrestrial and marine sampling in the areas surrounding Amchitka and Adak Islands in 2011 to determine whether local subsistence- and commercial-catch seafood is safe to eat.

“The results confirmed earlier investigations indicating that seafood harvested around Amchitka is safe for human consumption,” said Mark Kautsky, DOE Amchitka site manager. “DOE will continue working with the State of Alaska monitoring the island’s biota and evaluating the health effects of the Cold War nuclear tests on the local population.”

A total of 350 biological samples and 166 seawater samples were collected from the area around Amchitka and Adak Islands. The collected species were chosen to represent the subsistence- and commercial-catch seafood present in the western Aleutian Islands. Food safety risk was measured using data from the samples collected and calculations based on a range of local dietary information. Using these calculations, scientists estimate the overall potential excess cancer risk is at or below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s acceptable risk range; therefore, the seafood harvested at Amchitka and Adak is considered safe for consumption.

Between 1965 and 1971, the U.S. Government conducted three underground nuclear tests on Amchitka Island. The first nuclear test, named Long Shot, was conducted in 1965 to provide data that would improve the United States’ capability of detecting underground nuclear explosions. The second nuclear test, named Milrow, was a weapons-related test conducted in 1969 as a means to study the feasibility of detonating a much larger device. Cannikin, the third nuclear test on Amchitka, was a weapons-related test detonated in 1971.

The Amchitka Island, Alaska, Biological Monitoring Report 2011 Sampling Results is available on the DOE Office of Legacy Management website at http://www.lm.doe.gov/Amchitka/Documents.aspx. DOE’s next Amchitka biological monitoring event is scheduled in 2016. For more information about the Amchitka site, please visit the DOE Office of Legacy Management website at http://www.lm.doe.gov/Amchitka/Sites.aspx.
 

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