Jefferson: Uranium at Indian Island? It’s all how you look at it

PORT HADLOCK — Retired Army Maj. Doug Rokke believes the Navy is stockpiling radioactive munitions at Naval Magazine Indian Island and contaminating waters off the Olympic Peninsula.

He refuses to abide by the military term of “depleted uranium” to describe the hard metal some ammunition is made out of.

“There’s nothing depleted about it,” he says.

Navy officials downplay Indian Island as a significant source of depleted uranium munitions.

“There is depleted uranium that gets transported through Indian Island,” Navy spokesman Lt. Bill Couch said from Seattle on Wednesday.

“But we’re talking about 20 mm rounds that weigh 2½ ounces and are about the size of a Bic pen.”

Rokke claims spent munitions made from the substance will stay radioactive for 4.5 billion years.

Following a Freedom of Information Act request earlier this year, a Jan. 9 Seattle Post-Intelligencer article revealed that the Navy tests its Close In Weapons System, or “Phalanx,” guns in the area 25 miles to 100 miles off the Olympic Peninsula southwest of Neah Bay.

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The rest of the story appears in Thursday’s Peninsula Daily News.

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