HILO, Hawaii — A Big Island resident has filed a petition raising concerns about the Pohakuloa Training Area’s radiation monitoring plan, prompting federal regulators to give the plan another look.

A U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency review board agreed last month to review some of the issues raised by retired geologist Michael Reimer, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Sunday.

Reimer is concerned with the frequency of sediment sampling, number of sediment sampling sites and data evaluation methods for depleted uranium.

Reimer said he doesn’t think the plan requiring one sediment sampling site downstream of the U.S. Army training facility is sufficient to monitor depleted uranium.

Reimer, who said his background is in nuclear geology, said sampling only in an intermittent stream bed is a “rather absurd way to look at migration of DU.”

Agency spokesman David McIntyre said any recommended changes would go out for public review, likely early next year.

“In this case, the staff felt that certain matters he raised would warrant further evaluation,” McIntyre said.

The state Department of Health has said the Army’s previous use of depleted uranium, which has 40 percent the radioactivity as naturally occurring uranium, is not considered a “significant health threat.”

Reimer said depleted uranium is most dangerous when ingested or inhaled, which is why he thinks continued air sampling is needed.


Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/