The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard is a prime piece of land along San Francisco’s southern waterfront, but it’s also at the center of a federal radiation cleanup scandal. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is going to bring everyone in to get some answers at a hearing at city hall on Monday.
The city wants to know – what’s the timeline for the cleanup? It’s been on hold due to allegations of fraud and revelations that the Navy is losing confidence in Tetra Tech, the contractor it paid $250 million to eliminate radioactive soil.
The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has looked into the cleanup for years. In 2014, we exposed an internal Tetra Tech report that says the Navy found discrepancies in some of the company’s radiation cleanup data. The company admitted to the mishandling of soil samples and the falsification of data, and said it later took corrective action.
Two years later in 2016 a former worker came forward to NBC Bay Area alleging the fraud is much more widespread. It’s a claim the company denies. But the whistleblower’s accusations prompted the Navy in 2017 to reexamine all of Tetra Tech’s radiation data.
Earlier this year the Navy revealed nearly half of the data had inconsistencies and that a portion of it is likely fraudulent. Last week the U.S. Department of Justice sentenced two former Tetra Tech workers to prison for falsifying cleanup records. The company acknowledged those records were faked, but stands by the rest of its work at the shipyard.
Supervisor Malia Cohen says she is disgusted by what’s transpired and wants answers from the Navy because it’s the agency in charge of making sure the land is safe for redevelopment.
“The Navy’s lack of transparency and inability and unwillingness to answer questions has really caused a lot of doubt and delay on this project,” she said. “People want confidence in knowing they’re living on a piece of land that is clean and healthy.”
The Navy plans to retest the shipyard for radiation. Tetra Tech has offered to pay for it. But Cohen wants the California Department of Public Health to take over.
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