Vet Toxic Exposure ~ McMurdo Update 02: The nuclear power plant at McMurdo was known as PM-3A and was part of the Navy's effort to provide electrical power to remote areas. The plant was brought online in 1962 but experienced frequent malfunctions until it was finally shut down in 1973. The plant was disassembled and 7,700 cubic meters of rock and dirt were hauled away over the next several years. In the plant's final operating report issued after this shutdown in it was noted that it has experienced 438 malfunctions and 123 reports of radiation exposure in excess of allowable limits.
Continuing investigation has now
uncovered new details about
radiation leaks and possible
contamination. Evidence of serious
problems with the plant began
shortly after it
went on line in 1962 had been found.
A government report was completed in
1967 by engineers contracted by the
Navy to "locate defects and
determine their cause" after the
reactor core had to be replaced
after just two years of operation.
To review the report refer to
http://5.wews.com/rbW. In summary,
Engineers from the Columbus,
Ohiobased Battelle Memorial
Institute found 30 cracks in the
reactor core, a fuel leak of
undetermined origin and increasing
levels of fusion product in the
primary coolant. The reactor's core
wasreplaced with another that
continued to experience widespread
malfunctions from 1964 to 1973.
Navy veterans who served at McMurdo have long suspected their cancers were caused by exposure to radiation from the nuclear plant. At a recent reunion of the naval squadron based at McMurdo, one veteran after another came forward describing their cancers and what they experienced while serving at a base just a few yards down the hill from the nuclear reactor. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown wrote to Defense Secretary Robert Gates asking for a full investigation into radiation exposure at McMurdo. Brown also asked Veterans Administration Secretary Eric Shinseki to determine if veterans are eligible for service related disability compensation if the cancers were caused by radiation from the plant. A VA spokesperson has confirmed that it is reviewing classified documents relating to the nuclear plant that were turned over by the U.S. Navy in response to Brown's letter to the Defense Department.
The VA also confirmed that the Navy has turned over a list of 109 veterans for the VA to review, but it would not elaborate. In addition, in light of our evidence raised in our investigation, the Veterans Administration is now asking all veterans who served at McMurdo and who have been diagnosed with cancer to apply for possible benefits -- even
if their claims for a service related disability were previously denied. The VA said it will review all claims in light of any new evidence it recieves and make any decision based on what is discovered after carefully reviewing claims.