Elevated levels of radiation found at popular Seattle park

SEATTLE --Elevated radiation levels at a popular Seattle park have parents worried about their children's safety and upset that the government is just now telling them about the problem.

Radiation cleanup is about to get underway at Magnuson Park, which is located on land originally used as a Naval station.

Technicians were at the park on Wednesday taking radiation readings right next door to the indoor sports arena where Phil Cochran's 4-year-old daughter plays soccer.

"I don't want my kid to glow in the dark," Cochran said. "I don't want her or any of us to get cancer."

Though the area is fenced off with a sign that reads "controlled area," many parents are just now learning about the radiation contamination.

Navy administrators are trying to assure the public there is no danger from radium discovered in soil samples at two sites now owned by the City of Seattle.

Some park users are upset because it's taken more than three years for the Navy to make the information public.

"This is a case where I feel the government has failed its citizens," said concerned park user James Harvey

Navy officials say they launched an immediate environmental investigation after the city first raised concerns about the park in 2009. That's when Seattle leaders learned that the military repaired aircraft instruments at the park decades ago.

"It's not up to government agencies to sit on this kind of information without informing citizens," Harvey said.

Navy administrators say they are just following the steps outlined in federal regulations and had no need to inform the public sooner.

"If they haven't accessed the contained areas, then they haven't been exposed and they aren't subjected to any risk," said Kim Ostrowski of the US Navy.

The fences will remain up until the site is cleaned.