Families Sue LANL Over
Secret Radiation Testing on Bodies of Deceased Lab Workers
U.S. to Investigate Claims that Radioactive Human Body Parts are
Buried in New York
Environmental Groups Speak Out Against Proposed Yucca Mountain Standards
Six families of deceased Los Alamos National Laboratory (or LANL)
workers have filed suit against the lab claiming that the bodies of their
relatives were illegally used in secret lab autopsies to see how much
radiation they absorbed and how their bodies processed it. The suit states
that LANL removed tissue samples from hundreds of people for autopsy and
study without the consent of their families.
The lawsuit was instigated by Kelley Mereau, who was seven years
old when her father was involved in one of the most notorious radioactive
accidents at LANL. Mereau's father, Cecil Kelley, received a lethal dose
of radiation on December 30, 1958 and spent 35 hours in and out of
consciousness as his bone marrow liquefied and his white blood cells
disappeared. After his death, scientists removed his brain, spinal cord,
and other vital organs, totaling upwards of eight pounds, stored it in a
mayonnaise jar and sent it to be autopsied secretly. Kelley's organs were
the first studied by the Los Alamos Human Tissue Analysis Program.
The treatment of the deceased has led to serious questions of
morality. In a deposition years later, the pathologist who autopsied Cecil
Kelley claimed that God had given him permission to remove Kelley's organs.
Nevertheless, Richard Hughes, lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the families
were never told about the government experimentation, and that the autopsy
permits they signed limited the autopsy to discovering the direct and
indirect causes of death.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began investigating claims that radioactive
human body parts are being stored in Niagara County, New York.
The Rochester Burial Site near Lewiston was used to store the
remains of dogs, cats, and other animals that were used in radiation
experiments in the 1940s and '50s.
experimentation at the University of Rochester has been documented
in the book The Plutonium Files by Eileen Welsome.
It is still uncertain whether radioactive human parts are
stored near Lewiston as well. Louis Ricciuti, of Citizens
Campaign Against Nuclear Exposure, said, "...Experiments involving
the injection of plutonium into unwitting human subjects were
done in Rochester in the 1940s and 1950s. The grisly possibility
exists that human body parts were also buried in Lewiston."
*Eight Nevada and California public interest
groups issued a call to
the Bush Administration to issue strict radiation exposure
the proposed Yucca Mountain High-Level Nuclear Waste Repository
The letter was also signed by 26 groups nationwide who have
nuclear related issues, and are concerned for the health and
those living in Nevada.
The letter claims that proposed Environmental Protection Agency
EPA) standards, which are required to be drafted specifically
for the Yucca
Mountain site, are too weak to protect the public. The proposed
call for higher exposure limits and no groundwater protection.
states, "Strong EPA standards are vital for a credible
whether the Yucca Mountain project is in the best interest
of the public,
present and future."
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