Thursday, May 10, 2007

Radiac Redux: Fun with Low Level Radiation in Williamsburg

Radiac Radioactive Sign

The story of Williamsburg's Radiac Research Corporation is not a new one. The firm, which is on Kent Avenue, operates as a transfer station for low-level radioactive waste and hazardous chemicals, and has had its share of publicity, including a campaign to shut it down. Yet, it is still there, and the threat it presents in the case of an accident, fire or act of terrorism is sobering especially with thousands of new residents moving in nearby over the next two or three years.

Here's some verbiage from a document prepared by the Rezoning Task Force of Community Board 1 during the Greenpoint/Williamsburg rezoning debate in 2005:
Radiac, at Kent Avenue and S. 1st Street, serves as a transfer station for both hazardous chemicals and low-level radioactive waste. Because of the spatial inadequacies of the footprint of the facility, Radiac often operates with its doors open during loading/unloading of hazardous chemical and radioactive waste. A Molotov cocktail or a gunshot could set off a calamitous event. Engine Co. 212 was located ten blocks from Radiac and could have handled a fire rapidly enough to prevent a meltdown of the low-level nuclear waste (the EPA standard of cleanup of Radioactive events could lead to a 50-year evacuation and quarantine of Williamsburg and parts of Manhattan or Queens, depending on wind direction). This one facility stores up to critical mass of radioactive waste and flammable liquids, reactives, oxidizers, and explosives (up to 15,000 total gallons of hazardous chemical waste)...
If that's not enough to make a bite of lunch go down your windpipe, here's a bit more background color from an article in Block Magazine a while back:
That inventory, and charges that Radiac has been lax in the care and security of the chemicals, has residents and neighborhood activists pining for a relocation of the business to a less densely populated area. An accident in Radiac could easily trigger one of the worst environmental disasters New York City has ever seen, says Sean Nagle, the health and research director of activist organization El Puente’s Community Health and Education Institute...
We won't even get into the fact that there is nothing--utterly and absolutely nothing other than fate--to stop someone with evil intent from taking advantage of the situation, even if it has been somewhat mitigated. The horrifying possibilities aside, no one that we know of has collected any health data on the facility's neighbors, but it would be interesting to know whether there was any spike in cancers or other illnesses during the 25 years that Radiac has operated.

It should be noted that Radiac is now a "10-day transfer facility," meaning that it no longer stores was for up to a year and that they are no longer allowed to store "incompatible chemicals" such as cyanide and acid. However, if you want to see what happened when vbs.tv went by with a geiger counter, click here. One community leaders told GL that "The community has let Radiac slip off the radar since they announced changes in what they would handle and for how long."

Radiac remains relevant as residential developments like Northside Piers, The Edge, 184 Kent and the housing that will likely go on the old Domino Plant site sprout nearby.

Radiac Two

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12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was my understanding that the major problems with Radiac were corrected after the public hearing in 2005. The post includes excerpts form before the hearing. Sounds like an attempt by the blogger to scare people away from buying in the neighborhood.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. I'm not sure what the motivation is to misrepresent the radiac issue which is essentially resolved. This was also done by VBS TV in their toxic williamsburg piece. Just goes to show how irresponsible "journalism" can be thinly disguised propaganda.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. I'm not sure what the motivation is to misrepresent the radiac issue which is essentially resolved. This was also done by VBS TV in their toxic williamsburg piece. Just goes to show how irresponsible "journalism" can be thinly disguised propaganda.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a link to a Senate press release after the hearing referenced by anonymous post 11:17.

http://www.senate.gov/~schumer/SchumerWebsite/pressroom/record.cfm?id=261000

I did a lot of research on radiac prior to buying into Billyburg. There is no news after this Senate press release.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Pretzel Logic said...

Thanks for posting the Schumer press release. After seeing the Vice video on "toxic williamsburg" i was a little shocked that Radiac was still in operation and right across from a school too. While this does sound better, I would still think that a 10-day holding period still poses a danger to the area. I won't be totally relieved until it's completely shut down and relocated.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Greenpoint Archive said...

Isn't the lack of exaggeration when it comes to an environmental issue when it is located in Williamsburg and not Greenpoint revealing. Commenters are actually trying to play it down. The fifty year old Standard oil spill on the Newtown Creek was renamed the Greenpoint oil spill last year in an attempt to mislead the public about phony health issues. The Roebling oil spill (aka Williamsburg oil spill) never even makes it in the press. Williamsburg is getting a taste of what a smear campaign feels like when it is unleashed on a community.

Lets do a toxic score card.

Radioactive storage facilities in Williamsburg: Radiac on Kent Ave

Radioactive storage facilities in Greenpoint: none

Williamsburg oil spill size: Unknown (it might be even bigger than the Exxon Valdez) The Astral oil company operated on the Williamsburg waterfront for decades and may have spilled over 100 million gallons of oil into the ground under Williamsburg contaminating ground water and creating toxic vapors. Many of Williamsburg's cancer victims may have died because of this oil contamination. Many more may die in the future. Williamsburg's high cancer rates may now be better understood. How many new residents know about the potential deadly health risks that this oil poses?

Greenpoint oil spill size: defined and now half its original size.

Williamsburg oil spill location: Under newly developed luxury condos and possibly under the majority of the developing community. The full devastating results can only be determined by a lengthy study.

Greenpoint oil spill location: Under the remote industrial property next to the East Williamsburg industrial park.

Greenpoint condos being built on former toxic brownfields: none

Williamsburg condos being built on toxic brownfields: Many (including the Eastern District Site, and now the Williamsburg Oil field site)

Blogs dedicated to spreading lies about toxic hazards in Williamsburg: Hard to find

Blogs dedicated to spreading lies about toxic hazards in Greenpoint: You can hardly swing a stick without hitting one.

The Billyburg liars are getting found out. Truth has a way of surfacing when you give it time. A little taste of your own medicine.

5:07 PM  
Blogger brenda said...

i want to know what's in the dirt my kid plays in at the grand ferry park on the east river. it's across the street from RADIAC and not far from the williamsburg bridge where the dirt is said to have levels of lead that exceed federal safety recommendations. if this dirt is toxic there should be warning signs for children and dogs.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The dirt is probably the least of your problems.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The FACT is that RADIAC being constrained only by a time period in which it holds the hazardous waste/materials etc- max 10 days-which in rolling duh-- does little to address the risk of its presence has in Williamsburg to neighborhood and much of NYC and Brooklyn. The materials are still there, just that they rotate in stay max 10 days vs a year before rotate out. The trucks that bring it into and out of the neighborhood still pose same risks!!! The storage of the material STILL has the same risks, its just the shelf life of any "batch" brought in has a 10 day limit...Who cares, this is NO REAL CHANGE...the fact is RADIAC is still here doing what it did in past with same level of risk!! This 10 day limit is SPIN - a way to get Radiac's permit renewed and allwoed to stay in Williamsburg. And a way to keep the ignorant buyers coming to williamsburg to buy the new condos they build blocks from Radiac and on top of untested brownfields....Something Smells. EPA, DEC, NY State, NY City and Homeland Security aren't telling truth about RADIAC. NO WAY SHOULD THEY BE LET OFF THE HOOK. RADIAC has to close and leave densely populated NYC area. Could it be the State doesn't want it found out that RADIAC has already affected the residents health- Leaks, lead, radioactive levels, very high cancer rates, other illnesses etc. Why has EPA so neglected the needed indepth studies and testing that is clearly warranted and has for decades?

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I know is there are a whole hell of a lot of people with illnesses like Cancer and Asthma in Williamsburg.

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried to see the www.VBS.tv segment on Radiac under your "geiger counter link"...what is intersting to note is that out of the FULL & segments done in the series..the 2-3 min section on Radiac appears to have been edited out...the segment that was suppose to include Rdaiac is missing about 3 min...and there is no explantion why...

Who forced VBS.tv to edit their video? If the City/State , or DHS forced VBS.tv to edited out the material on Raduac, then what does that tell you????

Ovbiously Radiac remains a huge RISK to BK and NYC and that's why it was forced to be edit out!!!

More indication that something is VERY FOUL in WILLIAMSBURG amd that the CITY?STATE and FEDS sontinue to let the residents of Williamsburg be guinea pigs for a deadly toxic event !!!

GET RADIAC OUT NOW!

12:48 PM  
Blogger hazguy said...

Can anyone tell me about Radiac's service performance in NY?

1:46 PM  

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