Unexploded ordnance (UXO) and munitions constituents1 on former military bases in the United States are causing increasing concern. While civilian fatalities from UXO explosions on U.S. soil have been rare, the risk of such accidents could increase substantially as more closed bases are transferred from military to civilian control. Since the end of the Cold War, approximately 20 percent of major domestic military bases and many smaller ones have been closed and designated for eventual transfer to civilian ownership. Reflecting the growing concern about domestic UXO sites, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2002 directs the Department of Defense to inventory UXO sites, establish a new program element for UXO remediation, and assess progress to date on cleaning up UXO.
This report addresses one part of the process of cleaning up UXO and munitions constituents at domestic military installations: the assessment of risks associated with these contaminants. Risk assessment helps define the technical dimension of UXO problems. It provides a technical basis for setting priorities among sites and choosing among alternative cleanup strategies.
It is important to keep in mind that even the best-designed set of risk assessment methods will not resolve all the controversies that arise at UXO sites. Risk assessment can help to educate the participants in the decision process about the nature and magnitude of risk in-____________________