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The Atomic Sailors - Serving aboard the USS Calhoun County during its days asa radioactive waste dumpster

It was the Navy's dirtiest job. The crew of the U.S.S. Calhoun County dumped thousands of radioactive barrels into the Atlantic Ocean from 1946 to 1960. The Navy says the work was safe. But 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the ship's sinking. The Calhoun County's own Navy ordered it scuttled because it was a radioactive hazard. Now a Pasco County widow fights to prove her husband's death is tied to the vessel.

by William R. Levesque

Dumping sites Logged between 1956 and 1962

The U.S.S. Calhoun County began dumping radioactive waste as early as 1946. The ship's deck logs listed where much of the waste was dumped. Sometimes, the logs showed radiation levels of the barrels the ship handled. These levels were recorded using a measurement called a Rem or millirem. A Rem equals 1,000 millirems. A typical chest X-ray is 10 millirems. 

SOURCE: U.S. Navy records