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Nukewatch researcher calls for barrels to be removed from Lake Superior

An official with Nukewatch in Wisconsin says all of the munitions barrels dumped during the Cold War into Lake Superior should be removed. A week after the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa released a preliminary report saying there are li...

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An official with Nukewatch in Wisconsin says all of the munitions barrels dumped during the Cold War into Lake Superior should be removed.

A week after the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa released a preliminary report saying there are live explosives in 22 of the 25 barrels they raised last summer, Nukewatch researcher John LaForge said it's time for the Department of Defense to clean up its mess.

"That's rather a no-brainer considering the size of the military budget and how much is larded into it for various projects," LaForge said. "Here's a direct threat to the largest body of fresh water in the hemisphere. You'd think there'd be plenty of money to investigate the potential threat to this drinking water."

Red Cliff says the water intake for Duluth is about two miles from the nearest barrel dump site, but LaForge said it may be closer than that. He also said Red Cliff's report on the barrels that says no significant radiation was detected could be wrong, too, since only gamma radiation can be detected through the metal drums.

"This is something that has been warned of by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1990 after their survey found some radiation coming off four different barrels warning that they need to test for alpha and beta rays as well," he said.

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A 2008 "Health Consultation" by the federal Public Health Service calls the lone report of radiation "unexplainable" and says the only way to be sure there isn't radiation is to raise all 1,450 barrels for testing.

The Department of Defense ordered the 55- gallon drums from its Twin Cities Honeywell munitions plant secretly dumped into Lake Superior near Duluth between 1958 and 1962.

Related Topics: ENVIRONMENTLAKE SUPERIOR
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