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Interview with Charles Costa, February 13, 2009

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2009-02-13
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Narrator affiliation: Public Health Service (USPHS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Test Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory
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nts_000201
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Costa, Charles. Interview, 2009 February 13. MS-00818. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/d1gh9bn0f

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Nevada Test Site Oral History Project University of Nevada, Las Vegas Interview with Charles Costa February 13, 2009 Las Vegas, Nevada Interview Conducted By Leisl Carr Childers © 2007 by UNLV Libraries Oral history is a method of collecting historical information through recorded interviews conducted by an interviewer/researcher with an interviewee/narrator who possesses firsthand knowledge of historically significant events. The goal is to create an archive which adds relevant material to the existing historical record. Oral history recordings and transcripts are primary source material and do not represent the final, verified, or complete narrative of the events under discussion. Rather, oral history is a spoken remembrance or dialogue, reflecting the interviewee’s memories, points of view and personal opinions about events in response to the interviewer’s specific questions. Oral history interviews document each interviewee’s personal engagement with the history in question. They are unique records, reflecting the particular meaning the interviewee draws from her/his individual life experience. Produced by: The Nevada Test Site Oral History Project Departments of History and Sociology University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 89154-5020 Director and Editor Mary Palevsky Principal Investigators Robert Futrell, Dept. of Sociology Andrew Kirk, Dept. of History The material in the Nevada Test Site Oral History Project archive is based upon work supported by the U.S. Dept. of Energy under award number DEFG52-03NV99203 and the U.S. Dept. of Education under award number P116Z040093. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these recordings and transcripts are those of project participants—oral history interviewees and/or oral history interviewers—and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Energy or the U.S. Department of Education. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Charles Costa February 13, 2009 Conducted by Leisl Carr-Childers Table of Contents Introduction: birth (1939) in Medford, MA; graduated University of Massachusetts (civil engineering); commissioned in USPHS and assigned to NTS (1962) 1 Thoughts on arrival in Nevada (1962) and duties at NTS: 1962 as “a big year for testing,” duties re: offsite radiological monitoring 3 Description of Railroad Valley and relationships with the people: Sharps, Manzonies, Fallinis 6 Talks about Sedan and other atmospheric testing: advising people offsite, radiological sampling, handling exposure and testing of animals 8 Transfers to EPA (1970-1992). Traces general trajectory of career: USPHS monitor (1962-64); master’s degree in health physics, University of Michigan, then assigned to state health department in Wisconsin to form radiological health program (1964-1968); return to Nevada to work for EPA (1968-1992); retires and goes to work for LANL (1992-2008) as resident manager and later test director (1998) 10 Working as a test director at the NTS, and how experience as a USPHS monitor contributed to that: community radiological monitoring, work on Exxon Valdez oil spill and bioremediation (1989) 13 Work as USPHS offsite monitor at NTS: equipment and how it changed over time 17 Relationships with Fallinis, Sharps, Manzonies, Uhaldes, and other ranch families offsite, and visiting and working in Ely, NV 20 Remembers first meeting with Mrs. Uhalde at Uhalde Ranch, and finding his way through ranching country in the 1960s using landmarks and Net-12 radio 23 Wild horse range and counting horses, flying for the USPHS 26 Participation in Cannikin, Amchitka, AK (1971) and water monitoring program at shot sites: Mississippi, Colorado (Rulison and Rio Blanco), New Mexico (Project Shoal and a gas stimulation shot), Nevada (Project Shoal and Faultless), Alaska (Cannikin), and the NTS 28 Radiological monitoring at Enewetak 30 Uniqueness and importance of radiological monitoring programs 31 Offsite community monitoring at Three Mile Island and origin of CEMP 32 Final comments: influence of government monitors and CEMP on offsite community relationships 33 UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Charles Costa February 13, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Leisl Carr-Childers [00:00:00] Begin Track 2, Disc 1. Leisl Carr-Childers: OK, I’m here with Charles Costa at the Atomic Testing Museum. Charles, when were you born and where are you from? Charles Costa: I was born on March 20, 1939, in Medford, Massachusetts. That’s a ways away from Nevada. It’s a ways away. And coming to Nevada was a culture shock. [Laughing] Was it? What year did you arrive in Nevada? I was commissioned in the U.S. Public Health Service [USPHS] in January 1962 as an ensign. The last of my choices for a duty station was to come out west. Well they sent me out to the Nevada Test Site [NTS] on January 8, 1962. At that time the U.S. Public Health Service was responsible to the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) for the offsite safety program at the Nevada Test Site. In fact, the PHS had that responsibility since the early fifties. And why was the West your last choice? Because I had never been out west. [Laughing] And especially to the desert. I had graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in civil engineering and I wanted to do civil engineering type of work. Radiation was the least of my desires. In fact, I don’t know that I even knew how to spell the word “radioactivity” in those days. The PHS needed people out here at the test site because, if you look back at the history of testing, I came out approximately two months after the Nuclear Weapons Testing moratorium ended. The moratorium ended, what—the end of September 1961. There was a testing moratorium from 1958 to 1961. In September 1961, the Soviets [Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR] broke the moratorium. They UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 2 came back like gangbusters with several nuclear weapons tests in a short amount of time, and we had a tough time even getting one off. That’s when we went to an all-year-round testing program and everybody was building up their manpower and infrastructure here at the test site. So did the Public Health Service, who was again responsible for the offsite safety program. And so I showed up in early January of 1962. And how did they recruit you? I applied for a commission in the U.S. Public Health Service. You have to take an examination, you have to have a degree, pass a physical, and all of that. So I joined the Public Health Service to do engineering work. I also knew that it would fulfill my military obligation as well, with two years of service in the Public Health Service. And I figured, well, that’s a good way to do it. But they sent me out here to Nevada. [Laughing] [Laughing] Yeah, a far cry from Massachusetts. I don’t think I’ve really looked into this, but why did you have to have a military obligation? In those days the draft was in effect, and so rather than go into one of the military services and end up maybe not doing engineering work, I decided that I would join the Public Health Service. I had a job in the summer back east and my boss told me about the Public Health Service. He was a reservist in the Public Health Service, so I pursued that and it turned out OK. What was his name? I don’t even remember his name. That’s all right. But he was the one that put you on to this as an option. Yeah. And I heard a little bit about the Public Health Service because they came to the university, recruiting people, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. OK. And when you got to Nevada, what did you think? UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 3 I was not used to seeing large open spaces [Laughing] and its ninety-seven varieties of brown. When I was a young guy and went to the movie theater, often times I saw nuclear testing film clips or I saw them on TV. You would see some of the dramatic effects from tests at the test site. You know, gee whiz kind of things with Military and Civil Defense effects tests showing houses being blown over, and that sort of thing. And so when I came to the Nevada Test Site beginning on January 8, 1962, I said, wow, this is where they did the atmospheric testing a few years earlier. So I was really impressed as a young guy. I never had a course in health effects or radiation monitoring or anything like that. Did they teach those courses? Yes they did. The Public Health Service had some basic radiological health courses [00:05:00] that were available and plus working with experienced people like Don James and others who had already been out here for a few years, I received a quick education and it was fun. That’s great! So what did they have you do for the first year or so? If you look back at the history of testing, 1962, the year I showed up, happened to be the most [important year], and I’m talking about underground testing. We had a few atmospheric tests remaining before the Limited Test Ban came into effect, we had Sedan, and a large number of underground tests. I think just coincidentally there were over sixty tests in 1962, here at the test site. Running around the country side monitoring for the Plowshare test Sedan and a couple of atmospheric tests, Small Boy and Little Fellow, and a host of underground tests and some tunnel tests, not all of which [were] contained in those days, we were kept pretty busy. Our mission was to document the radiation levels offsite and look out for the health and safety of the people that lived offsite. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 4 They assigned me an area north of the NTS where I set up monitoring equipment at ranches and in the communities. I issued film badges to residents and workers at ranches, at the police and sheriff departments, and at the highway department. We had lots of dosimeters (film badges) issued out there, just to document the radiation levels. And so that’s what I did, at least for the first year. I had the Ely route. I really enjoyed the people and the country. I fell in love with Ely. It’s beautiful country. And [in] some of the remote valleys that lead up from the test site into the Ely area, I met some great people who are still my friends today. The old timers are no longer with us, but I’ve maintained contact with their children. That’s fantastic. Yeah. Can you explain to me how you would get from the test site? Would you leave from the test site and go to Ely or would you leave from here? As a matter of fact, I think the first year or year and a half, I lived in Mercury. Monitoring for tests was one aspect of the job. We were all issued individual trucks and we had all our monitoring equipment and our sampling equipment and so on in the trucks. And depending on the weather, the Control Point would position us downwind, in advance of the test. If nothing happened, great, we’d come back to the site. If something happened, then we’d spend the next few days monitoring out there and measuring the radiation levels. And in those days, we could monitor on the gunnery range. You can’t do that [now]. Now it’s more difficult. But in those days, the Nellis [Air Force Base] bombing and gunnery range was open to us, so we got to know the gunnery range pretty well, which was good because it’s the buffer zone between the test site and where the general public is. What valleys did that cover? That covered Kawich Valley and Gold Flats, TTR [Tonopah Test Range], the valley road (Sand Springs Valley), those valleys that are now pretty well closed off. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 5 So that was one aspect of the job. The other aspect of the job was setting up and maintaining the monitoring network that was out there. And so, just about every week, I would leave the test site, drive to Las Vegas, take, I don’t remember if it was I-15 in those days, but anyway take the highway to Glendale and then up Highway 93 to Ely by way of Alamo, Caliente, and Pioche. Subsequent to that, of course, a shortcut was built from Hiko to Lund to Highway 6, then to Ely. That wasn’t available to us in those days. When did they construct that? You know, I don’t know. I don’t remember when they constructed it. It was well after I had finished that aspect of the job. So that was the main paved road. Yeah, it was the main paved road. That was Highway 93 that ultimately goes up to Idaho, right? And so I would pretty much do that every week, go up and make the circuit, change out the dosimeters and pick up the air-sampler filters and whatever, and see all my friends. That’s great! And the circuit, it’s Las Vegas and then up the 93, but where would you stop? My first stops would be in Ely and there I would make the film badge exchanges and pick up the samples. Then I would work my way west and south to Preston, Lund, Sunnyside, and back up to Currant on Highway 6, the road that goes ultimately to Tonopah. Then travel to Duckwater and Lockes, and the valley south of there, Railroad Valley, all the way down to the gunnery range. How much of that was paved? Not very much. Well, Highway 93 was paved all the way up to Ely and Highway 6 was paved. It was the old road though. Now it’s all been upgraded. The road to Duckwater, which is an Indian reservation, was paved, but Railroad Valley and the other valleys were all gravel roads. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 6 Soon after coming out from Massachusetts, I went down to Currant. And if you’ve ever been to Currant and you look down into Railroad Valley, you see a huge, huge valley of space with little in it. I said, wow, do I really want to go down there? I don’t know what’s down there. I was used to living in a big city back east where everything is convenient and everything is paved and there are buses and churches and all that kind of stuff. I thought to myself, what kind of weird people would live in Railroad Valley? As it turned out that there was a one-room grade school just outside of Currant, right off highway 6, with grades one through eight or something like that. And so I went in there and I met the teacher. Her name was Lina Sharp. She was the teacher in this one-room grade school, and she and her husband had a ranch down in Railroad Valley, about 20 miles south of the highway. So that was my introduction to Railroad Valley. Turned out that she had five daughters and she taught them all in this one room grade school. When she had a baby, she would have the baby in a carriage in the back room and [she’d] teach the rancher and Indian kids in the front. I had such a unique accent coming from Massachusetts, at least they thought it was strange, that the kids loved listening to me as did Lina. I ended up reading stories to the kids and they always welcomed me there. One time while Lina was out having a baby, I ended up teaching there for a week or so. Here I was, a government employee. [Laughing] And so that was my introduction to Lina Sharp, her husband Jim, and her five daughters. I think I was the only guy that they would allow down at the ranch because of the daughters. I heard they were pretty. They were and they were great kids. They were all in 4-H and they were all very busy and they were all running off to Washington, D.C. and elsewhere with their 4-H activities. I mean I was amazed at how smart they were and how busy they kept themselves. And here they lived where UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 7 the nearest town to the ranch was some seventy or eighty miles away. The nearest ranch to the Blue Eagle Ranch (Lina) was maybe four or five miles up the road toward Currant in one direction, and to the south some twenty miles down the road. It was just amazing. So it was a whole different lifestyle. I really enjoyed that. And we’re still good friends today. Lina has a family reunion at the Blue Eagle Ranch in Railroad Valley every year and she invites me up there. The kids are now all married with the exception of one who is a nun. The married ones have children of their own and I wouldn’t be surprised if some now have grandkids. It’s a great Nevada story. That’s fantastic. Who else did you meet out there? Many of the local ranchers. I had my favorites though, and being an Italian, one of my favorites was the Manzonie family at the Manzonie Ranch which was just up from Currant toward Ely. They used to let me sleep and eat at the ranch. One of the sons was my age. We’d often go hunting together. Here I was a government employee [laughing]. We had a lot of fun. If you can’t enjoy your job, I mean, what’s the point? [Laughing] I made the best of it. You know, the people were really great. They had their concerns about the test site, but as long as they saw you out there, and as long as they believed that we were sincere, they accepted everything that we did at the test site. They really did. At least what we were doing in those days. There were a few of families however who were there during the atmospheric testing days who believed that fallout caused some serious illnesses. For example, one of the families, the Fallini’s, were related to the Bordoli family. One of the grandkids [Martin Bordoli] [00:15:00] died of leukemia at a ranch about midway in Railroad Valley. The Fallini�����s attributed that to the fallout from atmospheric testing. And you know it wasn’t our job to say no, that’s not correct. So they had that kind of concern. But the guys that I worked with who went out there, UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 8 did the things like I did. They [the residents of rural Nevada] always accepted us and they always accepted, again, what we did at the test site. Would you talk with them about specifics? In those early days, I knew generally speaking about radioactivity and the kinds of activities that were going on at the Test Site. We talked to the residents about what was going on at the site at the time. Prior to a test we would go out and say hey, we’ve got a test tomorrow, or something general like that, and that we will be out here for the test. As long as you did that [it was all right]. In fact, when we had Sedan, which was the large Plowshare cratering shot, the fallout went up to the north. My job was to tell the close-in residents to stay indoors while the dust cloud passes—it was really dusty but it was also radioactive as well—to stay indoors until the stuff went by as we monitored and sampled the air outside. At the Blue Eagle Ranch where the daughters were, they were inside the ranch while I was outside, with no protective clothing or anything. The radioactivity levels were low enough that it wasn’t necessary that I have protective clothing or a respirator. But they always remember that, that I was outside and they were inside and I was doing the monitoring. So that was the job. Did you see a wide variety of opinion? I mean the Fallinis. The Fallini’s were pretty good, except that they believed that the young Bordoli boy died of leukemia as a result of fallout from the site. They’ll never forget. But the people at the Blue Eagle Ranch and others up there say we don’t believe that there were any adverse health effects from anything that ever happened at the test site. Did you provide them with parameters, like what they could do, what they couldn’t do, like maybe if they had a vegetable garden, or a cow, or cattle? UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 9 Yes. Iodine was an issue in those days. Radioiodine in milk and children drinking the milk was a big issue. We knew where all of the family cows were, and we knew where all of the dairies were. If they were within the path of the fallout, then we would sample the milk and if contaminated, tell those with family cows not to drink the milk. We would replace it with store-bought milk, for example, for that period of time. For the dairies, there were a number of options available. The iodine is a fairly short-lived radioisotope and it therefore decays fairly quickly. Yeah, we would do that sort of thing. I’m going to ask this question because I really don’t understand, and I’ve only thought about it very recently. It’s more of a practical question as to how radiation functions. But let’s say you have a milk cow, and you have a beef cow. What would be the difference between how you handle exposure to either of those animals? Well, you’re concerned with contaminated milk, only because it’s a food pathway for kids and adults. If they drink the contaminated milk, the radioiodine will concentrate in the thyroid. For children with a small thyroid, that could be a problem. We weren’t concerned about beef cattle and the uptake into muscle, bone, and so on for the underground testing program. There was just not enough fallout for that to be a concern. Now, if you go back into the history of the test site, the Public Health Service ran a farm on the test site with milk cows and beef cows, which was later operated by the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]. Again the farm had dairy and beef cows out there. It was located just north of Sedan in Area 15. The dairy cows were really research animals. We had alfalfa fields and we would purposely contaminate the fields with radioiodine for example and feed the alfalfa to the milk cows to observe the uptake in milk, and look at those transfers. The beef cattle however roamed around the north end of the test site. Occasionally some would be UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 10 sacrificed to measure the uptake of radioisotopes in muscle and bone. The uptake in beef cows and then the transfer to people by eating meat was not a concern from underground testing. But we were concerned about the contamination of milk and the thyroid exposure to children. OK. And the radioactive molecules, iodine-131. What else were you tracking? [00:20:00] We were tracking just about anything that was detectable, like strontium, cesium, and iodine, principally the beta and gamma emitters. OK. And when I say “you,” as in general “you,” is that the Public Health Service? The Public Health Service was responsible for the offsite safety program from 1954 to 1970. In 1970, EPA was created, and a lot of the radiation programs from various federal agencies were taken over by the EPA, including some of those within the PHS. So a number of commissioned officers in 1970 were detailed to EPA. I was detailed to EPA from 1970 until I retired in 1992, but I was a Public Health Service officer. While I was detailed to EPA, I ended up directing the offsite safety program for them. Let me have you go back and explain the general trajectory of your career, then. Public Health Service monitor in 1962. And then? OK, so, good question. I was a Public Health Service monitor for the first couple of years (1962-1964). I was assigned to the Southwestern Radiological Health Lab (SWRHL). The laboratory was located here on the campus of the university [University of Nevada, Las Vegas, UNLV]. We also had a field laboratory and offices out at Mercury. Anyway, Captain [Oliver] Placak, Director of SWRHL, said, You know, maybe we should send you back to school to learn about what you’ve been doing for the last couple of years. And so I ended up at the University of Michigan, for a couple of years, fully paid for, and I eventually ended up getting a master’s degree in environmental sciences. It was principally health physics. I also had UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 11 a two-year assignment in Wisconsin, assisting the state health department with their radiological health program. So I was gone for four years from the summer of ’64 to May of ’68, I believe it was. And when I left Nevada, although at times it was exciting, I said, well, maybe I’ve had enough of this stuff. Maybe I’ll not go back to Nevada and I’ll try something else. But, while I was gone, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had a lot of fun and it was challenging and necessary work. In the interim I stayed in touch with one of the deputy directors, Jack McBride. He just passed away a year or so ago. Jack said, Why don’t you come back. I came back to Nevada and I’ve been here ever since. So when I came back with a master’s degree in health physics, I started moving up: branch chief for field operations and then as the division director for the whole program. And in those early years, Jack McBride nominated me (Department of Energy) to sit on the DOE Test Managers Safety Advisory Panel as the offsite safety advisor. This was a key position and something that I had aspired to do. Jack, one other manager, and me split up the duties. And so Jack and I and the other manager would split up the shots. Eventually with retirements, I became the main offsite advisor. I have to attribute a lot of my success to Jack McBride. Great! And some of the men that you worked with, during these periods? Well, Don James for sure in the field. But I worked with lots of Public Health Service commissioned officers in those early years. Many of them did their two years and then went back to their home base or whatever, to different careers. There were a few of us that stayed with the program here in Nevada. I think I probably have stayed the longest of anyone with the program, in particular as the safety advisor for the NTS tests. I ended up meeting a lot of really neat people from the laboratories, the DOE and the contractors. I retired from the Public Health UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 12 Service in 1992. I was required to retire after 30 years of service. I’m not sure I would have wanted to stay any longer than that anyway. That’s when Dr. Jay Norman, Director of the Field Test Division (J-Division) at Los Alamos National Laboratory, [LANL] hired me. Oh, you did! I didn’t know that. Yes. I spent thirty years with the Public Health Service and then I spent sixteen years with the Los Alamos National Lab. So that makes about three, four different careers, in total. There’s two right there, for sure. And now I do a lot of volunteering. What did you do for Los Alamos? I started out being the resident manager at the test site for the permanent party. There was always a permanent party that lived here in Las Vegas. Their duty station was the test site. But then [00:25:00] when we had a Los Alamos nuclear test, the physicists and other folks flew in from New Mexico. They’d go back and forth to the home lab until the test was conducted. So I started out as a resident manager. However I always wanted to be a test director. When I was in the Public Health Service or assigned to EP A, I always looked up to the test directors and always wanted to become one. And so, I had the opportunity. It turned out that when I went to work for Los Alamos, many of the old-timers were retiring. A job opportunity for a test director came up and I applied. I think I was turned down the first time, but the second time I got it and it was a dream come true. That’s great. Who were the old-timers that were retiring? Guys that I have a tremendous amount of respect for [at] Los Alamos were the former Test Directors, namely Walt Wolff, Tom Scolman, Dick Tatro, and Bob Campbell. And one who just passed away, Elmer Sowder. Elmer just passed away last week or the week before. I always had UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 13 a lot of respect for these guys because the test director was the king of the roost out here at the test site. He had the experience and he ran the entire test, from cradle to grave. Anyway, I always wanted to do that. So in 1998, I think it was, I became a test director and I ended up being a test director for a number of the subcritical experiments for Los Alamos. I think my boss, Mary Palevsky, wants to talk to you about that in greater depth, so she’ll probably give you a call here, not [in] too many days, because she’s going to Washington, D.C. so there may not be time [before that]. So she might catch up with you in July, too. But that’s very interesting work. What made you want to be a test director? Maybe my ego, I don’t know. Oh, I get that. [Laughing] That would’ve been my reason. Well, I always thought the main reason why we were out there was to conduct nuclear tests. I mean that was the principal reason and the test director managed the whole operation. The test director dealt with the contractors that were supporting the tests including the crafts all the way up to the physicists that came out from the laboratory, I mean the brainpower. The test director managed a large group of people, sometimes three or four hundred people, to execute a test. How did you find out that you had a managerial talent? Oh, I don’t know. You know, I never thought I had talent in anything, but people said that I always had the ability to work with people. It started out early in my career with just meeting the ranchers and folks, the Public Health people out in the communities, the highway department, the police department, and so on. So I had experience there. And part of my responsibility was to give talks at ranchers’ houses or in local communities about what we were doing at the test site and how we were looking out for the safety of the people. So I did a lot of that. And one of the side jobs was when the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred [1989]. My boss in D.C., who I had UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 14 worked with in Las Vegas, called me up and said, Would you go to Alaska and set up an operation up there to support Exxon and manage the EPA bioremediation project there. And so I got involved with that for two years, and I think it’s as a result of being able to work with different agencies. What year was Exxon? That was in 1989. So in March of ’89, late March I think it was, when, [Captain Joseph] Hazelwood, ran across the Bligh Reef there in Prince William Sound. Eleven million gallons of crude was spilled to Prince William Sound. Life became [00:30:00] very chaotic there and it was still very wintry up there. In May I went up to Valdez [Alaska] and the place was just overrun with Exxon, the State of Alaska and the [United States] Coast Guard [USCG] and everybody and their brother. There wasn’t a place available to set up an operation. So I had to figure out how to do that, to bring up a team to start working with Exxon on a bioremediation program. I know this doesn’t have anything to do necessarily with the radiation monitoring but I’d love to know more about that actually. So for two years you guys set up an operation to do— We set up an operation in Valdez, and after some negotiation with Exxon, got in-kind support from Exxon. In-kind support included two commercial fishing vessels and a helicopter and float plane. So I went up there, I don’t know exactly when it was, late April or early May. I arrived in Valdez and everything including motels, trailers, office space and homes were rented out. I went to the Bear Paw Campground right in the center of Valdez and met the owner. His name was Bill Wyatt. I said Bill, I got a problem. I’ve got to bring some people in. Where are we going to stay? Well, he had a couple of camping spots open at the time. We brought a few trailers in from Anchorage [Alaska] and, I don’t know, there must’ve been four or five of us to a camping trailer for a little while. And Bill also said, But in the meantime, I’m UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 15 trying to open up a campground down on the water. And he said, But things are so chaotic, I can’t get anybody to help build the camp ground and infrastructure down there. However he said,I will do my best to build an office if you will rent it for two years. I had no authority to promise anything, but I signed a piece of paper saying I would rent it for two years. I mean it was an emergency, right? So I did that and within a couple of months there was an office erected at the new campground. We brought in several trailers from Anchorage for personnel and we started to build up [a facility]. Anyway, we now had a place to work out of. As mentioned earlier, Exxon supplied me with a helicopter and a float plane for transportation to the sound and a couple of fishing vessels that could be used for living quarters and laboratory space on station. We stationed the fishing vessels in a place call Snug Harbor, in Prince William Sound, that had moderately oiled be