UCSF, UC Berkeley experts to examine radiation testing methods used at Hunters Point Shipyard

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Experts from the University of California at San Francisco and the University of California at Berkeley will analyze the procedures used to test for radiation on a portion of the former Naval Shipyard at San Francisco's Hunters Point, city officials announced.

The independent review comes after Mayor London Breed, City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Supervisor Shamann Walton requested it to determine whether the testing procedures established by state and federal regulatory agencies is sufficient.

"We have requested an independent and thorough analysis of the testing procedures at the Shipyard so that the community can have clarity on whether or not the testing that has been done is appropriate and sufficient for this site," Breed said in a statement.

"This community deserves transparency and accountability. We are deeply appreciative that UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley, two of our most trusted public institutions, have stepped up to take on this important task," she said.

The review is set to start immediately and will include interviews with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Navy, the California Department of Public Health and the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The review will also include a community listening session in which the researchers will hear directly from Hunters Point residents and community members.

A report on the findings could be ready as early as fall, at which point the researchers will present it to city officials and community members, according to Breed's office.

Of the review, City Attorney Dennis Herrera said, "This will allow an impartial panel of health experts to look at the information and reach their own conclusions about whether the testing of Parcel A and the rest of the shipyard has been adequate. That way everyone gets the facts and the public has confidence in the analysis."

Last year, state public health officials began retesting Parcel A-1 at the former naval shipyard, which has since been developed into housing. In February, they released a report concluding, "no radiological health and safety hazards to the residents of Parcel A-1 were observed."

Longtime Hunters Point residents however have complained of suffering from illnesses such as cancer and asthma because of alleged contaminated soil.

Tetra Tech, EC, Inc., the firm hired in 2002 by the U.S. Navy to rid roughly 20 percent of the former shipyard of radiation has been accused by whistleblowers of falsifying soil samples to minimize the evidence of radiation.

Tetra Tech maintains that it stands by the work it performed at the site.

According to Tetra Tech, radiological safety issues with the soil were first pointed out in 2012 as part of a quality control process by the Navy. After they were identified, Tetra Tech, at their own cost, went back and remediated the issues, with direct oversight from the Navy and environmental regulators.