Fort Bliss: Radioactive material not an immediate threat

Fort Bliss: Radioactive material not an immediate threat

POSTED: Friday, July 19, 2013 - 5:32pm

UPDATED: Saturday, July 20, 2013 - 2:08pm

At a press conference Friday morning, Fort Bliss shared findings of preliminary tests conducted so far in the investigation of the radioactive material found on post.

After 96 hours of initial analysis of a storage bunker reported to have been contaminated by radioactive material, the Army Environmental Command, among other military organizations, revealed the contamination found does not pose a health risk to the community.

"All evidence indicates that the contamination has not moved from the floor of the bunker," said Fort Bliss spokesperson, Major Joe Buccino.

Fort Bliss closed off part of Biggs Army Airfield after a former airman had contacted Air Force authorities to report radioactive material on post from work done in that area back in the 1950's.

Authorities later discovered low-level radioactive contamination in the bunker.

"The equipment that had been stored in the bunker has been tested and shows no signs of contamination," said Major Buccino.

But perhaps most importantly, preliminary test results of the bunker complex revealed no contamination to the water supply for Fort Bliss and the rest of El Paso.

As for the radioactive material reportedly buried in sealed containers outside the bunker, the Army Environmental Command is now trying to determine how big of an area they'll need to search to try and find them -- a process that could take several months.

"They're using historic documents and anecdotal evidence from airmen that worked in the areas in the 1950s and 1960s," said Major Buccino.

So far, the Army Environmental Command has not said whether or not they'll dig the containers up, should they even find anything.

There is no air contamination from the material based on the preliminary test results.

El Paso Water Utilities has also confirmed that the radioactive particles found are within acceptable levels.

For a detailed report of their findings, you can visit their website at

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