Army Puts Radiation Worries To Rest

Army Health Physics Chief Greg Komp
Army Health Physics Chief Greg Komp

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS (KHNL) --The Army quells community concerns about the discovery of potentially hazardous depleted uranium at Schofield Barracks.

If exposed to it, depleted uranium is known to cause health problems including kidney damage.

but the Army says the depleted uranium found at Schofield Barracks is not hazardous.

Three years ago workers dug up tail assemblies at a Schofield range that contain depleted uranium, known as D-U. Then last August contractors using radiation detection devices scanned the same four hundred acre range and found about 30 more. Over the past year a team of army and environmental experts took more than one thousand air and water samples.

The Army's Deputy Region Director explains, "Bottom line here is that the Army has concluded the D-U levels are safe at Schofield Barracks based on national standards for measuring this type of hazard and those come from the environmental protection agency. "

Research shows more than 700 hundred shells were shipped to Hawaii in the 1960's. Hundreds are not accounted for so Army investigators interviewed veterans to learn more.

"We have gone back and looked for veterans to try to talk to them about their experience with it," says Army Health Physics Chief Greg Komp.

The Army will not dig up the depleted uranium fragments because the training range is active.

Now they focus on other local Army ranges.

"As we did this research it led us to believe we may have used this weapon at Pohakuloa and maybe Makua," adds Killian.

The Army confirms depleted uranium has been detected on the Big Island. So far no D-U has been discovered at the leeward Oahu's Makua training area.

The Army promises to keep Big Island and leeward residents informed about surveys in their communities. Back at Schofield, the military will continue to monitor air and water samples over the next few years.