A military contractor confirmed the presence of depleted uranium at the U.S. Army's Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island, the Army said.
The Army has said it did not use depleted uranium at the training range. Earlier state tests found radiation levels in the air near the Pohakuloa training range to be "normal."
The Army last year said it also found depleted uranium at an Oahu post, Schofield Barracks, in remnants of training rounds used in the 1960s. That announcement came after years of Army denials it used depleted uranium in the islands.
The Army said in a news release Monday it currently does not use depleted uranium in training munitions.
Cabrera Services, the contractor, conducted an aerial survey for depleted uranium Thursday through Saturday.
The contractor's study sought to determine if a 1960s-era weapon which was capable of firing depleted uranium rounds, the Davy Crockett gun, had ever been fired at Pohakuloa.
The contractor also took soil samples from Pohakuloa, which have been sent to a lab for analysis.
The Army said it will coordinate with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the state to determine what steps will be taken.
Big Island peace activist Jim Albertini said the news confirmed his suspicions.
"I'm not surprised at all," said Albertini, who heads the Malu Aina Center for Nonviolent Education and Action in Kurtistown.
Albertini said his group detected heightened radiation levels at the edge of Pohakuloa as wind was coming off the firing range May 29.
He called on the Army to suspend all live-fire training in Hawaii because of the risk exercises could disturb any depleted uranium in the soil and release contaminated particles into the air.
U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii officials did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Depleted uranium is a byproduct of radioactive enriched uranium and has been used by the U.S. military in bullets and other weapons designed to pierce armor. Some researchers suspect exposure to depleted uranium may have caused chronic fatigue and other symptoms in veterans of the first Gulf War, but there is no conclusive evidence it has.
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