[environment] Discovery of Radioactive Scrap Near Mexico-U.S. Border
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August 10, 2005
New from the IRC:
Discovery of Radioactive Scrap Near Border Begs Proper Burial
By Talli Nauman
Lurking in the dunes along the highway just 50 kilometers south of the U.S.-Mexico border city area of El Paso - Ciudad Juárez are heaps of uncontained radioactive waste. The secret in the desert sands recently was revealed by Mexican nuclear physicist Bernardo Salas Mar, a former employee of the federal atomic power plant in Veracruz state who was fired after publicly disclosing its radioactive contamination of the Gulf of Mexico.
Salas, now a professor at the Mexican National Autonomous University (UNAM), investigated the border public health threat in cooperation with the rural residents of the municipality of Samalayuca, adjacent to Ciudad Juárez, in the northern state of Chihuahua. His field research turned up four mounds of metal scraps, each about six cubic meters in size, exposed to wind and water. The radiological inspection determined that the risk of radiation contamination in the human food chain from this abandoned site warranted protective measures.
Talli Nauman is a program associate at the Americas Program of the International Relations Center (online at http://www.irc-online.org). She originally published this opinion in her weekly column at The Herald Mexico, based at El Universal in Mexico City, as part of her independent media project Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness, which she initiated with support from the MacArthur Foundation.
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