Retired Hawaii geologist questions radiation monitoring plan

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,

  1. Roger Helbig December 7, 2017 1:35 am Reply

    Why is this getting so much publicity? Is there some pending NRC action that can be confirmed in writing? While Dr Reimer is a retired Geologist living in Hawaii, he is not a retired Hawaii geologist. His expertise is in the finding of uranium ore deposits by detecting helium. Uranium ore deposits, dominantly pitchblende, are Uraninite and contain all of the decay products from both Uranium-235 and Uranium-238. They do not contain Uranium metal and are very different from small pieces of uranium metal that are oxidizing away in the andisol or histosol soil of the Training Area. Dr Reimer’s group, led by James Albertini has been heavily influenced by the false and misleading information provided by Douglas Lind Rokke who recently insinuated that he is a disabled veteran from being exposed to depleted uranium after the 1991 Gulf War. I challenge news media to ask Rokke to prove that he is disabled and that it stems from his Gulf War service. Lieutenant Rokke was with an activated Army Reserve Medical Detachment in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. After the war, to enable the active duty Army officers and civilian Health Physicists to go home, Lt Rokke was made a Theater Health Physicist and served in that capacity for about three months before going home to Illinois in June of 1991. In writings, Rokke claims to have been involved in the clean up of the Camp Doha fire in July 1991. Lt Rokke was returned to civilian life at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin on July 1, 1991, before the Camp Doha, Kuwait fire occurred. He never returned to either Saudi Arabia or Kuwait after that time, but has claimed to have managed the clean up after the war. I personally used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain various documents from Rokke’s military records because he attacked my credibility in 2005. I made Reimer associate Dr Lorrin Pang aware of my concerns with Rokke earlier this year but he seemed unconcerned since Rokke has a PhD (in Vocational Education) and he wanted to know who I am. I am an honest person with enough knowledge of science to know that the lies about depleted uranium started with Saddam Hussein’s propagandists in 1991 and continue to this day. People of Hawaii should not be worried about something that has been quietly oxidizing away for over 50 years and never effected anyone before.

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