Home EditorialContamination Chronicles From TCE to Radioactive Exposures – Amchitka to Shemya
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From TCE to Radioactive Exposures – Amchitka to Shemya

by Civilian Exposure

The following is a personal story submitted to Civilian Exposure and published as part of our new series: “Contamination Chronicles: Personal Stories of Exposure”. If you would like to submit your story, you may fill out our form here or send directly via email to share-@-civilianexposure.org.


I have written to Civilian Exposure before about TCE / other contamination in the drinking water on Shemya, AK. I was on Shemya from April 1973 to April 1974, but didn’t find out about the contaminated drinking water until 2015. I got proof of the ongoing contamination in 2017, 42 years later. Filed with the VA under the Camp Lejeune authority, most of the appeal was denied because Shemya, AK isn’t close to Camp Lejeune – DUH!

Now I learn in 2018 in a round about way that while I was on Shemya, AK in April 1973 to April 1974, there was a unit AFTAC Det 205/461 on Shemya, AK that was conducting radioactive air sampling. Turns out during that time we discovered in research that China and France conducted at least 17 above ground or underwater (still gets into the atmosphere) nuclear tests during the 1973-1974 time period (France 15, China 2 = 17 TOTAL). These occurred while I was on Shemya AFB, AK. I included the 6 during 1972 for thoroughness. These were being monitored by AFTAC DET.205/DET 461 for radioactive fallout.


  • STOCKHOLM INTERNATIONAL PEACE RESEARCH INSTITUTE, Defence Research Establishment – FOA-R–00-01572-180,SE0000380, ISSN 1104-9154 User report –  Nuclear Explosions 1945 -1998 – nuksupri-report-original.pdf
  • Latest Update from National Archives – David Fort-National Archives and Records Administration Deputy Director of the FOIA/MDR Division
  • FOIA request RD 58458-for records relating to AFTAC detachment 205(461) Radio Active fallout Data from April 1973-April 1974 Shemya, AK.

FOIA Status so far:

  • AFTAC FOIA 2018-03617-F request. – No Data Found
  • Pentagon FOIA response – Check with AFTAC
  • National Archives – FOIA request RD 58458 – No Data Found
  • Now waiting for Department of Energy FOIA Request HQ-2018-01654-F Latest news of concern related to DOE Amchitka activity

Also, see: A.E.C. Dismantles Aleutian Test Site of Controversial ’71 Underground Blast By WALLACE TURNER AUG. 5, 1972

The dock at Constantine Harbor on the Bering Sea side of Amchitka is piled with the buildings (RADIOACTIVE?) of the portable 200‐man camp that housed the scientists, technicians, news reporters and A.E.C. officials who were here on Nov. 6 for the blast.

The camp will be moved by barge 200 miles out the Aleutian Island chain to Shemya where the Air Force has a base that specializes in electronic surveillance of the Soviet Union.

Finally, see: Why a bomb test in the Aleutians still strikes fear in workers 46 years later

…Amchitka construction workers like Nick wondered why their government supervisors wore radiation dosimeters while they were given no equipment or warnings.

Thanks for sharing.


Note from the Editor: The author currently resides in Georgia. The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with only the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.

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