Transcript for Oceanfloor Legacy, segment 04 of 14
The second goal of the ocean bottom survey is to locate and map some forty-seven thousand drums of low-level radioactive waste. The steel drums were dumped on the sea floor between nineteen forty-six and nineteen seventy under contract with the Atomic Energy Commission. They now lie at uncertain locations in and around the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration manages the sanctuary and has financed the search for the waste drums to determine how they threaten the environment.
The Gulf of the Farallones is a rich ecosystem that supplies much of the Bay area's seafood industry. Commercial and recreational fishermen frequent the region for salmon, bottom fish, and crab.
The Farallone Islands on the eastern edge of the sanctuary display the riches of local waters as they provide breeding and nesting grounds for a variety of sea birds and marine mammals.
We need to know if we dump an item at point A where will it be ten, fifteen, twenty years from now. The basic research that the U. S. G. S. and the E. P. A. and we and the Navy and the Corps of Engineers are all trying to get, and the National Marine Fishery Service also - we're all trying to get done is needed before you can do any practical application that would include the Gulf, and that's very important to do the basics before you try and model some little tiny place. You have to know how the whole system works.