25 October 2011
JONESBOROUGH, TN: Depleted Uranium delegation collects
samples to be examined for DU contamination, participates in press conference.
Aerojet Ordnance, Inc. in Jonesborough, TN is a Depleted
Uranium (DU) processing plant with an unsavory history of handling toxic
waste. The CPT DU delegation in
Jonesborough has helped Dr. Michael Ketterer—professor at Northern Arizona
State University—collect soil, water, and sediment samples in the area to be
examined for DU deposits. Previous
samples taken by Dr. Ketterer confirm DU contamination in areas around the
plant and also in the Little Limestone Creek. CPT delegates accompanied Dr. Ketterer to three different
homes in the area on Saturday, 22 October, collecting new samples, serendipitously
gaining access to a home that backs up to Aerojet’s fence line.
Local DU activists organized a clergy breakfast early
Saturday morning for Dr. Ketterer to present the results of his research. Following this presentation, CPT
delegates met with a former Aerojet employee and expert in working with DU. He
told of working in the plant prior to the 1981 strike for workers’ health, and
the dangerous conditions workers were exposed to, including DU waste dumped
into open pits in the factory yard, and radioactive materials transported to a
local resident’s property.
On Sunday, 23 October, Dr. Ketterer presented the findings
from his report at a press conference on Jonesborough’s courthouse steps. Ketterer, delegate Cliff Kindy, and
local DU activist Linda Modica then answered questions from local media and
others in attendance. One couple
that lives between Aerojet and Nuclear Fuel Service (a producer of nuclear fuel
for navy ships) attended the press conference, voicing strong concerns about
the impact of these plants on community health. They have experienced a number of health-related hardships
and have lost a child to a stomach tumor.
The delegation will participate in a public forum at Eastern
Tennessee State University to discuss these questions and issues further on
Tuesday 25 October 2011.