Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City
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Williamsburg is a neighborhood in the northern portion of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, bordering Greenpoint, Bed-Stuy, and Bushwick. The neighborhood is part of Brooklyn Community Board 1.
Williamsburg is home to many ethnic groups, a thriving art community, and, increasingly, commuters to Manhattan.
Williamsburg is home to large Hasidic Jewish community, located throughout the neighborhood but concentrated just south of the Williamsburg Bridge. North of this area, on and around Bedford Avenue, one can find a dense population of contemporary hipsters
Radiac Research Corporation, a radioactive and hazardous waste storage plant operates on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg. Radiac has a permit from the state's Department of Labor to store radioactive medical waste, including uranium and plutonium. Led by a local group, Neighbors Against Garbage, the plant's opponents believe that a truck bomb, for example, could cause a fire or explosion that could spew radioactive contaminants over parts of Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. That would not be hard to do, they say, because Radiac's buildings either abut Kent Avenue or are separated from the street by a parking lot surrounded by a chain-link fence. City Councilman David Yassky, whose district includes the area, said the 35-year-old facility was no longer appropriate at its current site now that the city is a potential terrorist target. "A fire in the chemical part could easily spread," he said, "and we could easily face a dirty-bomb situation."
Radiac does have a troubling history of failing to adhere to safety regulations. An environmental impact study commissioned by the NYC Department of City Planning during the recent North Brooklyn rezoning process noted that the site "has a long list of RCRIS violations," referring to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Information System, a database operated by the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the study, Radiac has been cited for violating both general standards of such a storage facility, as well as preparedness/prevention requirements. And in 2001 Radiac received a fire protection report and analysis they themselves had commissioned that found that, "the current water-based fire protection system at the facility is inadequate to control the fire origination from a 55-gallon container" of the highly flammable chemical heptane, which is stored at the building.
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