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Saturday, April 7, 2007

EL Yunque Esta En Peligro

The experiments of radiation in the Anvil (El Yunque)

Innocent Cotto CLARITY ccotto@claridadpuertorico.com

The trees of the Anvil resisted the radiation, like the Puerto Ricans we have resisted all the attacks that have whipped our Island. During years the signallings were many on the experiments of radiation directed by the Government of the United States in the sector of the forest of the Anvil, known like the Green one. The certain thing is that when visiting that part of the forest, if the person is not an expert scientist of the subject, is difficult to know that 42 years ago was experienced there with radiation.
Under the direction of the director of the Institute of Dasonomía Tropical (IDT), Dr Ariel Lugo, a group of journalists and environmentalists visited the places where the mentioned experiment was carried out that began in January of 1965. The irradiation was emitted by near 90 days and the studies of the effects on the forest were finished in the 1989, soon of the passage of the Hugo hurricane. One first iron door to 500 meters that the passage to the forest prevented and that was watched the 24 hours of the day was per years leaves from the mystery that surrounded the experiment.
According to it was explained, the radioactive material that was used in the experiment was put within a metal cylinder of two tons, which was placed in a cement platform within the forest. The material was taken in helicopter. In order to emit the radiation electrical cables through the forest extended from the platform to the Experimental Station and from by means of a switch the radiation was driven there. The cylinder raised and sent the radiation on six feet of the ground. The type of radiation that was used was the one that is known as range in application of 50 thousands renken. The same Lugo, that participated in the experiment, revealed that never nobody was said to him to how much was going to be the radiation.
Although Lugo indicated that the experiment was carried out by the Commission of Atomic Energy of EU, to invitation of the University of Puerto Rico, also revealed that the pretensions of being able to make a new channel in Panama, the tensions of the cold war and the experiments of atomic pumps were part of the reasons for the experiment. It added that for that date either the UPR or had a training center of nuclear energy that made works for the then Electrical Energy.
After all the experiment supposedly was made to know the level sobreexperience from the forest the radiation and to traspolar its results to the human population.
But the results did not even leave the astonishment of “destruction” that many had imagined, for such scientists who participated in the experiment. After all the density of the wood of the tropical forests proved to be more resistant to the radiation that the pines in the United States. When finishing the experiment already knew that 500 renken were sufficient to cause the death. The expert in tropical dasonomía indicated that the effects of radiation were begun to feel through the time and reached the 20 meters, although the scientists could not measure their effects beyond 30 meters. The clearest consequence was the deceleration in the succession of the trees, reason why the trees of the relatively young sector are of little height and. The experiment caused the loss of seed. Esteem that throughout 10 years 1.019 trees (25%) died of a total of 4.079 of between 0 to 80 meters exposed to the radiation. Lugo compared that during the Hugo hurricane the forest lost the 37 percent of its trees.
At the present time in the sector Green the different faculties from natural sciences of the University of Puerto Rico in association with scientific institutions of the United States carry out more than a dozen of experiments. According to the Dr Lugo, from 1912 Puerto Rico it has been visited by the most important scientists of the ecology. Most of the studies that become in the forest is in the long term. Some of them are directed to know the metabolism the forest, their mutations, for which 20 thousand trees have marked themselves; other to study the fauna of the rivers, other to study the chemical constitution of the rainwater, the decomposition of the leaves before they fall to the ground, the thousands of alive organisms that have the small islands, among others.

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