Amchitka Independent Assessment Science Plan
Updates from the Expedition
Final Phase of Laboratory Analysis, Magnetotellurics Data Results and Preparation of the Final Report
Expedition Summary and Implementation Plan
This project has had the goal not only of seeking to determine whether the foods drawn from the waters around Amchitka are safe, but also of seeking to determine baseline data on the island and its marine environment that will best guide any future monitoring of Amchitka and its food chain. To meet both goals, we needed to assess not only the very diverse kinds of organisms collected (ranging from kelp and sea urchins to top level predator fish and birds) but also, for many of the organisms, to prepare to analyze physically diverse kinds of tissues. We recognized throughout that we need to present results that would be comparable (within the study and with other similar work) and understandable to both highly technical and lay publics. In fact, it has proven to be both difficult and time-consuming to define the parameters for specimen preparation and to develop clear analysis streams and methods (applicable to diverse radio nuclides) for this full range of biological trophic levels. And having addressed all of these issues, we discovered the need to increase specimen size and extend counting time for radio nuclide analysis to provide the best basis for credible assessment.
We had hoped to be able to report our findings this month (April 2005). However, because of the complexity described above, we recognized by early Spring that we had two options: 1) We could prepare a report that would clarify to the public what it needs to know about current food safety in April, and then issue a second report or addendum to the first with additional and more technical data; or 2) Delay reporting for two months and issue a single report that fully integrates with the food safety results all of the additional statistical and similar information we have gathered so that it can best guide future monitoring and or research efforts and capture the range of new information we have on both the biological and physical environments at Amchitka. At a meeting in Alaska in early March, CRESP was actively and unanimously encouraged by its Amchitka Policy Advisory Group to wait until it could integrate the full range of expedition information and its evaluation in a single report if, as we are confident is the case, a fully integrated report can be completed by late June 2005.
of Amchitka Island Subsurface:
There is a single exception to this decision to provide all results at once. Because any information gathered by CRESP magnetotulleric experiments on the Amchitka massif will require both highly technical and extended evaluation to be integrated into the complex picture of the Amchitka hydrogeologic substructure, we are making available those results now and that report will, of course, be presented again in the final report.
measurements for determining the subsurface
We should note that,
as CRESP has gathered information throughout the expedition and post-expedition
periods, it has been committed to publicly immediately report any of its
findings that might be needed to allow responsible officials to take action
to protect public health in and around Amchitka. No such reports have
Expedition Update - October 2004
A joint CRESP team at Rutgers University, Vanderbilt University, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey and the University of Pittsburgh has initiated the processing of the specimens for testing in laboratories at INEEL and Vanderbilt. This initial screening is to be a basis for understanding the occurrence and indication of origin of radionuclides in a wide range of organisms at different trophic levels in the marine ecosystem, for foods that are consumed by the Aleuts, and for organisms that are harvested commercially. This initial screen will consist of the analysis of muscle tissue for 137Cs and 90Sr and analysis of corresponding skeletal material for a range of isotopes. More extensive laboratory testing and analyses will be performed later in the year on selected species within designated trophic levels, based on the results obtained in the initial screening analysis and any other data made available to this study. View Report HTML
From Adak, Alaska - August 7, 2004
Phase 3 of Amchitka Expedition Completed: CRESP researcher successfully collects fish from Amchitka and Kiska to compare to broader biological sampling
Phase 3 of the three-part CRESP expedition began on July 18 and was completed on August 7. A CRESP researcher served aboard the Gladiator, a ship conducting a NOAA trawling expedition (See Summary) in order to collect designated fish and other marine biota from Amchitka and Kiska during the same time frame as the CRESP Phase 2 effort was there collecting a more extensive range of biota. If analysis shows comparability between sample collection from these two expedition Phases, the biennial NOAA trawl of the Western Aleutians may be able to serve as one source of ongoing monitoring information about how radionuclide levels from subsequent collections compare to the baseline CRESP hopes to establish for the Amchitka marine environment.
CRESP is very happy
to report that all three Phases of this expedition involving some 26 CRESP
research personnel and the Ocean Explorer and Gladiator personnel as well
have been completed safely. Actual analysis of the samples collected and
other work of this expedition is expected to take some five months and
a report of the results is planned for mid-April, 2005.
From Adak, Alaska - July 21, 2004
Phase 2 of Amchitka Expedition Completed: CRESP researchers successfully collected biological and physical samples.
At 10:55 AM on July 21, 2004 the biological sampling team that had, since June 28 been conducting Phase 2 of CRESP's Summer of 2004 Amchitka Science Plan expedition arrived back in Adak Harbor on the expedition ship, the Ocean Explorer. The team had successfully collected biological and physical samples from the marine and island environments at Amchitka and at the expedition's reference site, Kiska Island well to the northwest of Amchitka. Samples were successfully collected to allow analysis of all of the trophic levels defined in CRESP's Amchitka Independent Assessment Science Plan (See Plan). The marine samples had been primarily collected in areas near the three nuclear test shot locations (Long Shot, Cannikin and Milrow) on Amchitka Island and at what are believed to be parallel locations at Kiska Island.
CRESP is very happy to report that both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the expedition, involving some 25 research personnel and the Ocean Explorer's crew of 6, have been completed safely. Phase 3 of the expedition is underway and will continue until the second week in August with a CRESP researcher aboard the Gladiator, a ship conducting a NOAA trawling expedition of the Western Aleutians (See Summary). Actual analysis of the samples collected and other work of this expedition is expected to take some five months and a report of the results is planned for mid-April, 2005.
From Adak, Alaska - June 28, 2004
University Researchers Explore Amchitka Island's Marine Environment: Seek to understand whether there are adverse effects of underground nuclear testing
This morning a diverse group of researchers from 5 major research universities leaves Adak, Alaska the western-most settled community in the Western Hemisphere - bound by ship for Amchitka an island in the western Aleutian chain in Alaska, a few miles from the international dateline and site of three significant underground nuclear test shots more than 30 years ago. But before leaving, this research team reported on Friday night to the residents of Adak on the status of their Consortium's two-part expedition this summer at Amchitka. The research effort is seeking to clarify whether there is any current threat to human beings or the environment in the marine surroundings of the 3 nuclear tests conducted by the U.S. government at Amchitka. It also seeks to establish a baseline for any later scientific evaluations of the effects of the tests and provide information to inform any additional surveillance of the sea and marine life near Amchitka. Adak, where the group reported on its mission, is the home of the community of Aleut residents closest to Amchitka and its residents report subsistence fishing activities near Amchitka and its environs. Results from this summer's field work will require extended analysis and are not expected for about 8 months.
Amchitka Expedition Summary
The Expedition summary discusses how CRESP II plans to implement its Amchitka Scientific Assessment Plan (June 24, 2003) with a series of activities that begin in the field (June 12 - August 8, 2004) and, with data analysis and synthesis, are planned to be completed by late Spring 2005. When completed this work is intended to help determine:
Consortium for Risk Evaluation with
Stakeholder Participation II
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