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Site Assessment and Risk Management Framework for Underwater Munitions

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There are thousands of underwater sites off the North American coasts, and many more worldwide, that contain munitions and chemical warfare agents on the seabed. These sites have resulted from historical sources such as military firing ranges, shipwrecks, and offshore munition disposal. An approach is recommended to manage underwater munition sites, which involves a management framework, site characterization, risk assessment, survey/verification, remedial options analysis, monitoring, and stakeholder consultation. This paper presents a review of historical literature addressing potential health, safety, and environmental issues associated with underwater munition sites. A framework has also been described for risk-based management of underwater munition sites that was developed for a Canadian Department of National Defense underwater Unexploded Ordnance Legacy Site program. The approach is composed of historical and archival research, desktop mapping, identification of data limitations and gap analysis, and development of a preliminary priority risk-based ranking of underwater munition sites in Atlantic Canada.

Keywords: Management; Ordnance; Risk assessment; UXO; Underwater munitions

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2009

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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