The EPA says it's removed more than
a million airplane parts -- mostly control indicators -- from a
warehouse in Los Angeles that were built with radium and, according
to the federal agency, posed a radiation hazard.
"We've done a number of radiation contamination (cleanups), but
I don't recall a dial cleanup in the past," said Keith A. Takata,
director of the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund
division, in an interview with the LA Daily News. "A single dial
leaking radiation isn't a big problem. But a million of them, and
many of them broken, becomes a big problem."
The parts were stored at Preservation Aviation Warehouse in
North Hollywood. As ANN reported last June,
the gauges came mostly from scrapped WWII aircraft. As the cleanup
was getting underway, officials estimated its cost at about $7
million. But the EPA spent $5 million on sending the parts to
secure landfills capable of handling radioactive waste. The price
tag has now climbed to $9.3 million and EPA officials say they'll
do all they can to recover at least some of that cost from the
owners of Preservation Aviation.
Radiation levels -- once 100 times background levels inside the
warehouse and 10 times normal in the yard -- have now returned to
normal, according to Takata. Officials will reportedly decide next
week whether the warehouse should be demolished altogether.