I refer to the Perspective by L.A. Wood in the April 27 edition of the Daily Planet. Wood tries to build a case that folks on the UCB campus should be concerned about past radionuclide releases on the Central Campus, originating from Department of Energy research activities. When discussing the Melvin Calvin labs, he maintains that “Environmental reports from the mid-’70’s document releases of hundreds of curies of tritium annually in that area of the Central Campus.” I have recently reviewed the 1970-1980 Radioactive Effluent Monitoring Reports from the Berkeley Lab which have been provided to the City of Berkeley’s independent reviewer (Bernd Franke, IFEU). These reports show that less than 6.6 curies of tritium was released from the Calvin Lab over these 11 years, with less than 25 millicuries in the period 1974-1980 - maybe a factor of 1,000 less than Wood’s claim. Maybe Wood misread these reports, or maybe he has other reports I don’t know about. If so, he should bring copies to the Department of Energy so everybody can discuss the same information.
Given the prejudicial tone of his article, a factor of 1,000 exaggeration is important, and casts a considerable cloud over his motives.
Philip G. Williams