Farallon Island Radioactive Waste Dump, 47,800 Barrels Of Radioactive Waste Dumped West Of San Francisco Between 1946 To 1970


A new documentary that examines the nuclear waste disposal problem in just one location. We have these sites across the globe, all over our oceans. There are even instances where pipes have been setup in the sea, so the waste can be disposed off even easier and unseen.


According to USGS: “More than 47,800 drums and other containers of low-level radioactive waste were dumped onto the ocean floor west of San Francisco between 1946 and 1970; many of these are in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.


  • Where are the drums?
  • Is it appropriate and safe to dispose of radioactive waste in the marine environment?

Some Answers

Although the drums were to be dumped at three specific sites, there are no drums at the exact location of the site covered by this study.

Preliminary maps show the location of many drums, but only 15 percent of the radioactive waste dump area has been mapped.

This information can be used to sample around the drums to determine if the radioactive material is leaking or otherwise affecting the environment.

Source: http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/farallon/radwasteimg.html


Between 1946 and 1970, approximately 47,800 large barrels and other containers of radioactive waste were dumped in the ocean west of San Francisco. The containers were to be dumped at three designated sites, but they a litter sea floor area of at least 1,400 km2 known as the Farallon Island Radioactive Waste Dump.
The exact location of the containers and the potential hazard the containers pose to the environment are unknown. (AGRP: No one has studied it)
The USGS developed computer techniques and contracted with private industry to enhance sidescan- sonar data–collected in cooperation with the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary–to detect objects as small as 55-gallon steel barrels while conducting regional sidescan-sonar surveys. Locations of probable 55-gallon containers derived from the enhanced sidescan sonar images were plotted on a map covering a 125-km2 area.
The U.S. Navy, the USGS, and the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary pooled their expertise and resources to verify the new computer enhancement techniques developed for detecting targets on sidescan sonar images the size of 55-gallon barrels.The acoustic intepretations were verified using the USN DSV (Deep Submergence Vehicle) Sea Cliff and the unmanned Advanced Tethered Vehicle (ATV).
Barrels and other physical features were found without fail where image enhancement had indicated they would be found.
Without maps as guides to probable barrel sites, previous attempts to locate the barrels using submersibles were like trying to find a needle in a haystack. In contrast, using the new acoustic maps to drive from one barrel site to the next, each Sea Cliff and ATV dive verified the predicted absence or presence of barrels.
The interagency cooperation among the USN, USGS, and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary has provided the technological, scientific, and practical expertise to develop a cost-effective and time-efficient method to locate the barrels of radioactive waste. This method can be used to locate containers of hazardous waste over a regional scale in other ocean areas such as Boston Harbor and the Kara Sea in the Arctic.”

Nuclear waste dump

In the above map the approximate locations of two major nuclear waste dumping sites, according to a 1980 United States Environmental Protection Agency report, are indicated.
Wikipedia: “From 1946 to 1970, the sea around the Farallones was used as a nuclear dumping site for radioactive waste under the authority of the Atomic Energy Commission at a site known as the Farallon Island Nuclear Waste Dump. Most of the dumping took place before 1960, and all dumping of radioactive wastes by the United States was terminated in 1970. By then, 47,500 55 gallon steel drum containers had been dumped in the vicinity, with a total estimated radioactive activity of 14,500 Ci
44,000 containers were dumped at 37°37′N 123°17′W, and another 3,500 at 37°38′N 123°08′W.[26]
The exact location of the containers and the potential hazard the containers pose to the environment are unknown.[27] Attempts to remove the barrels would likely produce greater risk than leaving them undisturbed.[26]
Waste containers were shipped to Hunters Point Shipyard, then loaded onto barges for transportation to the Farallones. Containers were weighted with concrete. Those that floated were sometimes shot with rifles to sink them.[28]


In January 1951, the highly radioactive hull of USS Independence was scuttled in the area.”
According to some people, the carrier was loaded to the gills with high level nuclear waste, and it was highly radioactive. That leads to the question, why isn’t the USS Ronald Reagan also highly radioactive, since it was close to and downwind of Fukushima for quite awhile? Is it really possible to ‘decontaminate’ a ship that has been totally soaked in a plume of radiation and neutron/gamma skyshine? 

USS Ronald Reagan Sailors/Crew Exposed To High Doses Of Fukushima Radiation, File Lawsuit; via @AGreenRoad

The nuclear industry claims that only ‘low level’ radioactive waste was dumped in the ocean. Of course, there is no way to check this assertion without spending a lot of money, but the odds of this being the truth are miniscule, based on the past history of the nuclear industry and what it claims.


Nuclear Waste Sits on Ocean Floor U.S. Has Few Answers on How to Handle Atomic Waste It Dumped in the Sea 
The agency that authorized and talked about this dumping got dissolved and abolished due to corruption and lies, which should tell us something. There is no plan for what to do with this nuclear waste sitting on the ocean bottom. There is no plan to monitor the radiation in the water or to monitor the condition of the drums. There is no plan on monitoring fish or other sea life for radiation levels.


What happened to the 300,000 veterans who were exposed to radiation from all of this open air testing of nuclear weapons? 

300,000 Atomic Veterans Forcibly Exposed To Nuclear Radiation, Made Into Radioactive Lab Rats; via @AGreenRoad


In the few ‘studies’ that were done in the 1990’s researchers became appalled the more they found out about it. One researcher said that eating a pound a week of contaminated fish from this area would result in a significant radiation exposure. Plutonium is also one of the most lethal poisons on the planet. 
Wall St. Journal: Plutonium levels 1,000 times normal on seafloor 50 miles from San Francisco — Expert Appalled: Major nuclear dump offshore is a threat to health — Around 50,000 containers of radioactive waste in ‘globally significant ecosystem’ 
The California coast is famous for ‘upwelling’ currents coming from the deep cold depths of the ocean, then rising up to the surface. Wouldn’t it seem reasonable that any radioactivity from the ocean bottoms would also rise to the surface along with these currents? 
Contrary to the nuclear industry claims that only low level radiation was dumped there (plutonium is NOT low level waste), the following IAEA document shows a large variety of radioactive elements dumped in both liquid and solid form. 


Wouldn’t it make sense that currents, storms, bottom dwelling fish and sea creatures like crabs could carry this radiation into other areas? Wouldn’t it makes sense that shellfish near this location could concentrate even low levels of plutonium or other radioactive elements leaking from this site? 
Despite the fact that 1000 times the ‘normal levels’ of plutonium was found on the ocean bottom in the areas, the US government, nuclear industry and agencies involved do not care enough to monitor anything, and they certainly do not seem to want to do anything about it either. 

Health Phys. 1996 Aug;71(2):167-78.
Radionuclides in fishes and mussels from the Farallon Islands Nuclear Waste Dump Site, California.
Suchanek TH1, Lagunas-Solar MC, Raabe OG, Helm RC, Gielow F, Peek N, Carvacho O.
Author information


The Farallon Islands Nuclear Waste Dump Site (FINWDS), approximately 30 miles west of San Francisco, California, received at least 500 TBq encapsulated in more than 47,500 containers from approximately 1945 to 1970. During several seasons in 1986/87 deep-sea bottom feeding fishes (Dover sole = Microstomus pacificus; sablefish = Anoplopoma fimbria; thornyheads = Sebastolobus spp.) and intertidal mussels (Mytilus californianus) were collected from the vicinity of the FINWDS and from comparable depths at a reference site near Point Arena, CA. Tissues were analyzed for several radionuclides (137Cs, 238Pu, 239+240Pu, and 241Am). Radionuclide concentrations for fish mussel tissue ranged from non-detectable to 4,340 mBq kg(-1) wet weight, with the following means for Farallon fishes: 137Cs = 1,110 mBq kg(-1); 238Pu = 390 mBq kg(-1); 239+240Pu = 130 mBq kg(-1); and 241Am = 1,350 mBq kg(-1)…..


Plutonium is entirely a man made radioactive element which did not exist before the scientists created it. Humans have no defense against it. Since none existed before the atomic age, normal levels of plutonium should be ZERO. Any plutonium found in any location is entirely man made, and put there by the nuclear industry, the military industrial complex or both of them working together. Now we know who to hold accountable, but where is the outrage?


This is a report about the nuclear waste that was dumped into the sea around Europe between 1967 and 1982. All 114,726 tons are still there – thousands of barrels, corroding or even rosted through by now.  For informations about Schacht Asse, have a look at wikipedia:

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Humanity is sitting on numerous nuclear time bombs. There are the thousands of TONS of nuclear waste that were dumped into the worlds oceans. Those barrels are all dissolving in the salty ocean water and releasing their deadly contents into prime fishing grounds. 

There are the tens of thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel that are accumulating in all of the nuclear plants globally. Every spent fuel pool at every one of the nuclear reactors is a nuclear waste time bomb, waiting to go off, with the same radiation as 9,000 nuclear bombs. 

There are thousands of tons of nuclear waste stored at numerous labs and other facilities all around the world. These are also nuclear waste time bombs waiting to go off. 

There is no answer for all of this nuclear high level waste, and there is no plan on how to get rid of it. All of it needs to be guarded for 1 million years or longer. Who is going to pay to safely guard and/or dispose of all of this nuclear garbage for 1 million years? We cannot even remember what happened 2,000 years ago. No one even knows why or how the pyramids were built. For all we know, they were built to house nuclear waste. We bumbled around and tore things up in these old structures, but still have very little idea what they are for. 

How are nuclear waste dumps going to remain secure and safe with distant future civilizations that are digging around trying to find traces of our present day civilization, which is working really hard on developing many ways to go extinct, and taking all living things with it on the way out. Over 130 species a day are going extinct, largely due to human activities and consequences. Humans seem to be paying no attention and are accelerating the pace of extinction through greed, denial, ignorance and blind stupidity.  

Farallon Island Radioactive Waste Dump, 47,800 Barrels Of Radioactive Waste Dumped West Of San Francisco Between 1946 To 1970; via @AGreenRoad
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One thought on “Farallon Island Radioactive Waste Dump, 47,800 Barrels Of Radioactive Waste Dumped West Of San Francisco Between 1946 To 1970

  1. Thanks for writing this article. This is very important news even though it is new. I remember going on a fishing tour around the Farallon Islands, I would not have done so if I had known about all the radioactive dumping that took place


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