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Uranium Enrichment/Fuel Fabrication - Decommissioning Issues (USA)   flag

(last updated 23 Jul 2014)

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General

Recycling smelting facility recommended at Portsmouth

A recommendation that the Department of Energy develop and design a metal smelter that would be suitable to recycle various types of metals into ingots from Decontamination & Decommissioning (D & D) activities at the former uranium plant has been approved by a 13-1 vote.
D & D will result in various types of scrap metals in the debris including steel, old pumps, motors, convertors, and industrial equipment. One option would be to ship all of the scrap metal to Utah and Nevada. However, the recommendation involves construction of an on-site smelter to reduce and process scrap metals from the debris. Radioactive uranium contamination would become part of the "dross" during the melting, leaving the majority of metals to be cast as ingots for future use. The uranium "dross" would be sent to low level radioactive disposal cells in the West.
Unfortunately, the preserved recycled scrap metals would have "trace amounts of radioactivity. These recycled metals should only be used under control conditions at DOE sites or possibly in the construction of nuclear reactors and associated equipment at nuclear power plants," the recommendation states. Since no other nuclear waste metal smelting facility exists in the United States, the possibility exists for the shipment of debris from other plants to be shipped to the Portsmouth smelting facility. (Huntington News May 8, 2010)

 

DOE releases Draft EA for disposition of contaminated nickel from Paducah and Oak Ridge enrichment plants

On June 13, 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued for public review and comment a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate alternatives to safely disposition approximately 15,300 tons of radiologically-contaminated nickel scrap recovered from uranium enrichment process equipment at the Department's Paducah, KY and Oak Ridge, TN facilities.
Comments on the draft EA must be received no later than August 15, 2008 (comment period extended!).

> View DOE news release June 13, 2008 external link
> Download Stakeholder Letter, June 13, 2008 external link (PDF)
> Download Extension of Public Comment Period, July 2, 2008 external link (PDF)
> Download DOE/EA-1599, Draft Environmental Assessment, disposition of radioactively contaminated nickel located at the East Tennessee Technology Park, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, Paducah, Kentucky, for controlled radiological applications, June 2008 external link (2.9M PDF)

> See also: DOE to prepare PEIS on disposition of scrap metal from enrichment plants and other sources

 

Status of Decommissioning Program, 2004 Annual Report, Final Report, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NUREG-1814, January 2005
> Download full report external link · alternate source external link (660k PDF )

Fuel Cycle Facilities Undergoing Decommissioning external link (NRC)

 

NRC issues revised Decommissioning Guidance for Materials Licensees

NUREG-1757 external link, Consolidated NMSS Decommissioning Guidance, September 2006

 

NRC issues revised Decommissioning Guidance for Materials Licensees

NUREG-1757 external link, Consolidated NMSS Decommissioning Guidance, Rev. 1, September 2003

> See also Federal Register: September 17, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 180) p. 54503-54504 (download full text external link)

 

NRC issues Final Decommissioning Guidance (Vol. 1)

"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) is announcing the availability of a final document ''Consolidated NMSS Decommissioning Guidance: Decommissioning Process for Materials Licensees'' (NUREG-1757, Vol. 1). This document provides guidance for planning and implementing the termination of licenses issued through NMSS's licensing programs. [...]"
> View announcement in Federal Register: September 26, 2002 (Vol. 67, No. 187) p. 60706-60707 external link
> Download NUREG-1757 Vol.1 external link

 

NRC seeks comment on Draft Decommissioning Guidance (Vol. 2)

"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) is announcing the availability of a draft document ``Consolidated NMSS Decommissioning Guidance: Characterization, Survey, and Determination of Radiological Criteria'' (NUREG-1757, Vol. 2), for public comment. This document provides guidance for compliance with the radiological criteria for termination of licenses. [...]"
Comments on this draft document should be submitted by December 26, 2002.

> View announcement in Federal Register: September 26, 2002 (Vol. 67, No. 187) p. 60707-60708 external link
> Download NUREG-1757 Vol.2 Draft external link

 

NRC seeks comment on Draft Decommissioning Guidance (Vol. 1)

"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) is announcing the availability of a draft document ''Consolidated NMSS Decommissioning Guidance: Decommissioning Process'' (NUREG-1757, Vol. 1), for public comment. This document provides guidance for the planning and implementation of the termination of licenses issued through NMSS's licensing programs."

> View announcement in Federal Register: January 31, 2002 (Vol. 67, No. 21) p. 4764-4765 external link

 

Draft NCRP Report for comment: Managing Potentially Radioactive Scrap Metal

Draft Scientific Committee 87-4 report: Managing Potentially Radioactive Scrap Metal (December, 2001), U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. 234 p.
> Download full text external link (4414k)
Deadline for comments: February 1, 2002
Forward comments to ncrpexec@ncrp.com .

This report covers, among others, the U.S. enrichment plants.

 

DOE to prepare PEIS on disposition of scrap metal from enrichment plants and other sources

Federal Register: September 6, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 173) p. 46613-46614 (download full notice external link): The scoping period on the PEIS is extended 60 days until November 9, 2001.

Federal Register: July 12, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 134)] p. 36562-36566 (download full notice external link):

"SUMMARY: This notice announces the Department of Energy's (DOE's) intention to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), under the National Environmental Policy Act, on the policy alternatives for the disposition of DOE scrap metals that may have residual surface radioactivity. The primary metals to be considered in the analysis are carbon steel and stainless steel. Other metals [e.g., copper, aluminum, lead, and precious metals (silver, gold, platinum)], which exist in smaller quantities, will also be addressed in the PEIS.
The disposition alternatives to be analyzed include: continuation of the suspension on unrestricted release of scrap metals from DOE radiological areas for recycling; unrestricted release of scrap metals for recycling under existing DOE requirements; unrestricted release of scrap metals for recycling under alternative requirements; and no unrestricted release for recycling of scrap metals with any potential for residual surface radioactivity.

DATES: The public scoping period begins with publication of this Notice and concludes September 10, 2001. DOE invites Federal agencies, Native American tribes, state and local governments, and members of the public to comment on the scope of this PEIS. DOE will consider all comments received by the close of the scoping period and will consider comments received after that date to the extent practicable. DOE will conduct public scoping meetings to assist in defining the appropriate scope of the PEIS, including the alternatives and significant environmental issues to be considered. [...]

[...] More than half of the current and forecast scrap metal amounts, including almost all of the scrap nickel, will result from the decommissioning of the Gaseous Diffusion Plants in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The estimated average generation rates through the year 2015 are 50,000 tons per year for carbon steel, 4,000 tons per year for stainless steel, and 3,000 tons per year for nickel. [...]"

> for further information, see:
DOE NEPA external link · DOE EM external link

> see also: DOE Seeks Comment on Directives for Release of Scrap Metals
> see also: DOE releases Draft EA for disposition of contaminated nickel from Paducah and Oak Ridge enrichment plants
 

NRC seeks comment on Plan for Updating and Consolidating the Decommissioning Policy and Guidance of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Office Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards

Federal Register: May 1, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 84)] p. 21793-21796 (download full notice external link):
"SUMMARY: The Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) intends to consolidate and update the policy and guidance for NMSS's decommissioning program. This endeavor is in response to the NMSS performance goals, in the NRC's Strategic Plan, of: (1) Making NRC activities and decisions more effective, efficient, and realistic; and (2) reducing unnecessary regulatory burden on stakeholders.

DATES: Comments on this plan should be submitted by June 15, 2001. The comments will be considered by NRC in the process of updating and consolidating the policy and guidance for NMSS's decommissioning program."


 


Paducah gaseous diffusion enrichment plant (Kentucky)

NRC Docket No. 07007001

Aerial views: Google Maps external link · MSRMaps external link

DOE selects deactivation contractor for Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant

On July 22, 2014, DOE announced that it awarded a Task Order under the Nationwide Environmental Management ID/IQ Unrestricted Contract to Fluor Federal Services, Inc. external link for deactivation activities at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (GDP) in Paducah, Kentucky, which is currently leased to the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC).

Enrichment company USEC files for bankruptcy

USEC Inc filed for bankruptcy after struggling with weak prices for the enriched uranium it supplies to nuclear power plants and difficulties in financing a major project. Shares of the company, which said in December it expected to file for bankruptcy protection, fell as much as 46 percent to $3.01 in premarket trading on Wednesday. Prices for low-enriched uranium have plummeted more than 30 percent since March 2011, when a tsunami crippled the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. (Reuters Mar. 5, 2014)

Enrichment company USEC expects to file for bankruptcy in first quarter of 2014

USEC Inc. expects to file a prearranged and voluntary Chapter 11 petition for relief in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in the first quarter of 2014. (USEC Dec. 16, 2013)

Presumed tornado hits shut-down Paducah enrichment plant

At least two homes were destroyed, more than 3,000 were without power and a possible tornado touched down at a uranium enrichment plant in Paducah, Kentucky, on Sunday (Nov. 17) as strong storms moved through the state. No deaths or injuries were reported, and plant officials said no hazardous materials were released from the plant.
[...] Also in McCracken County, what may have been a tornado touched down at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, damaging one of the plant's four enrichment production buildings, the adjacent cooling towers and nearby electrical switchyard, Georgann Lookofsky, a spokeswoman for the plant's parent company USEC Inc., said in a news release. "Electrical power poles, wiring and other electrical circuits were also damaged," Lookofsky said, while the collars surrounding the fans on those cooling towers were destroyed. Lookofsky said there were no reports of injuries and that monitoring of the plant showed "no radiological or hazardous material releases."
Lookofsky said USEC ceased enriching uranium at the plant in June, and only limited plant operations "related to inventory management" were operating when the storms hit. She said a recovery team was now focusing on cleanup and repair. (The Republic Nov. 17, 2013)

DOE seeks deactivation contractor for Paducah gaseous diffusion enrichment plant

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today issued a Request for Task Proposal (RTP) for deactivation activities at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (GDP) in Paducah, Kentucky. These services are required so that DOE can address the return of the Paducah GDP facilities that are currently being leased by the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC), a private company. USEC is expected to return the facilities to DOE in the near future.
Proposals are to be submitted to DOE no later than September 20, 2013.
> View DOE EM release Aug. 9, 2013 external link
> View Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) Deactivation external link (DOE Environmental Management Consolidated Business Center)

 

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Portsmouth gaseous diffusion enrichment plant (Ohio)

NRC Docket No. 07007002

Aerial views: Google Maps external link · MSRMaps external link

Enrichment company USEC files for bankruptcy

> View here

Enrichment company USEC expects to file for bankruptcy in first quarter of 2014

> View here

Records were altered at decommissioning Portsmouth enrichment plant

Fluor-B&W Portsmouth is investigating claims that employees altered documents to cover up problems with radiation detection equipment being used at the uranium enrichment plant in Piketon. "It became clear that some of our radiation monitoring equipment was left in service even though it had failed some daily source checks," Fluor-B&W spokesman Jeff Wagner told the Daily Times on Saturday. "[...] So as we started looking into this it became clear that some folks went back into these logs, which had been filed away in records, and they changed them."
The issue was discovered in April, and Fluor-B&W and the Department of Energy Inspector General each opened an investigation which uncovered 25 altered reports. In a company memo sent May 22 to all employees, Fluor-B&W Site Project Director Dennis Carr said the number of incidents was limited and primarily associated with the Model 2360 Ludlum Alpha-Beta probes. He said the company has also tracked usage of that equipment on those days "to ensure there was no potential for contaminated objects to have been improperly released from our radiological areas." (Portsmouth Daily Times May 26, 2013)

Area counties support on-site disposal of wastes generated from decommissioning of Portsmouth enrichment plant

Commissioners in Scioto and Jackson counties recently passed resolutions supporting an on-site disposal system for the waste generated from the Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D) of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion plant in Piketon. The on-site option is one of two alternatives being considered by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Ohio EPA. The other is to dispose of waste off the A-Plant site. Fluor-B&W Portsmouth is estimating the all off-site disposal would cost about $1.62 billion and the on-site disposal would cost about $668 million.
Using the off-site alternative, 763,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil would be shipped away from the A-Plant site. There would be 1,032,000 cubic yards of building debris shipped off and a total of 2,177,000 cubic yards of material would need to be shipped off.
Using on-site disposal a total of 1,949,000 cubic yards of material would be processed on-site. Using the on-site disposal option, 228,000 cubic yards of material would still need to be shipped off. (Portsmouth Daily Times Apr. 21, 2012)

> View older issues


AREVA NP Inc. Lynchburg nuclear fuel plant (Virginia)

(formerly Framatome ANP, Framatome Cogema Fuels)
License No. SNM-1168, Docket No. 07001201

> see older issues
 


Former Combustion Engineering Windsor nuclear fuel plant (Connecticut)

NRC Docket No. 07001100 / 03003754
License No. SNM-1067 / 06-00217-06

Aerial view: Google Maps external link new window · MSRMaps external link new window

 

ABB applies for license termination of decommissioned CE Windsor nuclear fuel plant

On Dec. 21, 2011, ABB Inc. notified NRC that it does not intend to apply for a renewal of its license that expires on Jan. 31, 2012. ABB rather applied for the termination of the license.

NRC issues Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for revised Decommissioning Plan for CE Windsor nuclear fuel plant (Connecticut)

The purpose of the proposed amendment is to approve a revision, Decommissioning Plan Revision (DP) 2, to the previously approved site DP for the licensee's facility. The original DP was approved on June 1, 2004, and revision 1 was approved on July 8, 2009. Specifically, this Revision 2 to the approved DP expands the scope of the DP and provides the radiological status and remediation plans for select Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) areas, including the Site Brook and the adjacent Debris Pile. In addition, site-specific derived concentration guideline limits (DCGLs) for thorium-232 (Th-232) and radium-226 (Ra-226) are provided in the revised DP.
Federal Register: May 31, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 104) p. 31379-31381 (download full text external link)

NRC invites comment on decommissioning plan for CE Windsor nuclear fuel plant (Connecticut)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has received a license amendment application for decommissioning from ABB, Inc., requesting approval of a revised decommissioning plan and site specific derived concentration guideline levels at its Combustion Engineering site located in Windsor, Connecticut.
Submit comments or requests for a hearing by April 18, 2011.
Federal Register: February 15, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 31) p. 8785-8787 (download full text external link)
> Open Docket ID NRC-2011-0033 external link
> Download ABB, Inc. Decommissioning Plan Rev. 2, CE Windsor Site, August 2010:
Main part external link · Figures external link · Tables external link · Appendix A external link · Appendix B external link · Addendum external link

NRC issues Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for partial remediation of CE Windsor nuclear fuel plant (Connecticut)

Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for License Amendment to Materials License No. 06-00217-06, for Remediation of Portions of a Site in Windsor, CT

Federal Register: July 2, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 126) p. 31770-31772 (download full text external link)

NRC issues Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for partial site release of CE Windsor nuclear fuel plant for unrestricted use (Connecticut)

Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for License Amendment to Byproduct Materials License No. 06-00217-06, for Amendment of the License and Unrestricted Release of a Portion of the ABB, Inc. Facility in Windsor, CT

Federal Register: January 9, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 6) p. 965-967 (download full text external link)

NRC and ABB, Inc., to discuss proposed change to decommissioning plan for former nuclear materials site in Windsor, Conn.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff and representatives of ABB, Inc., will meet on Friday, Sept. 14, 2007, to discuss the company's plans to supplement the decommissioning plan for a former nuclear materials site in Windsor (Hartford County), Conn. > View NRC release Sep. 11, 2007

NRC issues notice on opportunity to request a hearing on decommissioning plan for former Combustion Engineering Windsor nuclear fuel plant

The NRC must receive requests for a hearing on or before March 8, 2004.

Federal Register: February 6, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 25) p. 5879-5880 (download full text external link)

NRC issues Finding of No Significant Impact for decommissioning

Federal Register: October 17, 2002 (Vol. 67, No. 201) p. 64147-64150 (download full text external link):
"SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering the issuance of a license amendment to ABB Prospects, Inc. Materials License No. 06-00217-06 to authorize dismantlement and deconstruction to grade level of the buildings in Building Complexes 2, 5, and 17 at the CE site in Windsor, CT and has prepared an Environmental Assessment in support of this action. Based upon the Environmental Assessment, the NRC has concluded that a finding of No Significant Impact is appropriate, and, therefore, an Environmental Impact Statement is unnecessary."

NRC to approve decommissioning plan

Federal Register: April 10, 2002 (Vol. 67, No. 69) p. 17472 (download full text external link):
"The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering issuance of a license amendment to By-Product Materials License No. 06-00217-06 (License No. 06-00217-06), issued to ABB Prospects, Incorporated, to authorize decommissioning of Building Complexes 2, 5 and 17 at the CE Windsor Site in Windsor, Connecticut. [...]"

By letter dated May 8, 2002, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection external link submitted a Request for Hearing and Petition to Intervene for several deficiences identified in the decommissioning plan.


Former Sylvania Hicksville nuclear fuel plant (New York)

Site Name and No.: Former Sylvania Electric Products Facility, Site No. V00089-1
Project Location: 70, 100, & 140 Cantiague Rock Road, Hicksville, NY Nassau County, NYSDEC Region 1

New York State DEC site documents external link
 

Residents file $1.6 billion lawsuit

A lawsuit filed on April 3, 2002, in federal court contends that a former nuclear processing plant in Hicksville leaked radioactive materials and toxins into the air, soil and water, causing a host of cancers and deaths in the area.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Central Islip on behalf of 25 families, mostly from the Jericho Gardens neighborhood, also says that GTE and Sylvania, which operated the plant, and Verizon, their parent company, conspired to keep the contamination secret from residents.
The suit alleges that the facility, which operated from 1952 to 1966, discharged uranium, thorium and other toxins and caused various illnesses, including lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma and cancers of the kidneys, lungs, pancreas, liver and breasts. (Newsday April 4, 2002)

Soil Remediation Work Plan available for comment

> View NYSDEC ENB Region 1 notice, March 27, 2002 external link

The public comment period is: March 27, 2002 to April 27, 2002.

Note: The public meeting originally scheduled for April 9, 2002, has been postponed.


Westinghouse Hematite nuclear fuel plant (Missouri)

(formerly Combustion Engineering, Inc.)
License No. SNM-33, Docket No. 07000036

Aerial view: Google Maps external link new window · MSRMaps external link new window

> See also: NRC Review of Performance Assessment for Decommissioning Plans external link

 

NRC offers opportunity to request a hearing and to petition for leave to intervene concerning criticality monitoring exemptions at Hematite nuclear fuel plant decommssioning site

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has received a license amendment application from Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC., dated August 16, 2012, requesting an exemption and an amendment of NRC License Number SNM-00033. The requested exemption pertains to requirements for criticality monitoring systems at WEC Hematite Decommissioning Project site in Missouri.
A request for a hearing or petition for leave to intervene must be filed by December 31, 2012.
> Federal Register Volume 77, Number 211 (Wednesday, October 31, 2012) p. 65910-65912 (download full text external link)
> Access Docket ID NRC-2012-0262 external link

NRC invites comment on decommissioning project for Hematite nuclear fuel plant

Submit comments by May 18, 2012.
Requests for a hearing or leave to intervene must be filed by May 18, 2012.
> Federal Register March 19, 2012 (Volume 77, Number 53) p. 16077-16082 (download full text external link)
> Access Docket ID NRC-2012-0054 external link

Westinghouse releases report on Technetium-99 contamination in soils at former Hematite nuclear fuel plant

On May 5, 2011, Westinghouse Electric Co submitted to NRC an "Evaluation of Technetium-99 Under the Process Buildings" at its former Hematite nuclear fuel plant.

NRC staff proposes imposition of $16,250 penalty for violations during decommissioning of Hematite nuclear fuel plant

On Oct. 23, 2009, NRC staff issued a Notice of Violation to Westinghouse Electric Company LLC and proposes the imposition of a $16,250 penalty for violations identified during inspections conducted between November 17, 2008, and June 24, 2009.

> View NRC release Oct. 29, 2009 external link
> View Notice of Violation EA-09-084, Oct. 23, 2009 external link

 

Decommissioning Plan for Hematite nuclear fuel plant

NRC approves Decommissioning Plan for Westinghouse Hematite nuclear fuel plant

> Download NRC letter to Westinghouse, Oct. 13, 2011 external link
> Download License Amendment No. 57, Oct. 13, 2011 external link
> Download Safety Evaluation Report Oct. 2011 external link · Supporting Documents external link · Basis for Hematite License Changes external link

NRC issues Notice of License Amendment Request for approval of Decommissioning Plan for Westinghouse Hematite nuclear fuel plant and Opportunity To Request a Hearing

On Dec. 8, 2009, NRC issued a Notice of License Amendment Request of Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC for Approval of Hematite Decommissioning Plan, Festus, Missouri and Opportunity To Request a Hearing.
A request for a hearing must be filed by February 8, 2010.
> View NRC release Dec. 10, 2009 external link
Federal Register: December 8, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 234), Page 64765-64769 (download full text external link)
> Download Hematite Decommissioning Plan external link (ADAMS Acc. No. ML092330136)

Westinghouse issues Decommissioning Plan for Hematite nuclear fuel plant

On Aug. 12, 2009, Westinghouse Electric Company LLC submitted to NRC its Decommissioning Plan for the Hematite nuclear fuel plant.
(available for download through ADAMS external link)

 

Proposed disposal of Hematite (Missouri) fuel plant decommissioning waste at non-NRC-licensed disposal facility in Idaho

Westinghouse Electric Company LLC once again wants to more than double the amount of Hematite (Missouri) fuel plant decommissioning waste to be transferred to non-NRC-licensed disposal facility in Idaho

On July 11, 2014, Westinghouse Electric Company LLC requested that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approve an increase in the volume of waste authorized for transfer from the Hematite Decommissioning Project for alternate disposal at US Ecology Idaho, Inc. This request is to more than double the volume by 87,100 m3 to a cumulative volume of 154,909 m3. The total volume is now almost seven times the amount of 23,000 m3 approved in the first place.

NRC issues license amendment for disposal of additional Hematite (Missouri) fuel plant decommissioning waste at non-NRC-licensed disposal facility in Idaho

On Jan. 14, 2014, NRC issued license amendment No. 63 to Westinghouse Electric Corp. LLC (WEC):
"WEC is now permitted to dispose of an additional 22,000 m3 of soil and soil like material generated by its HDP [Hematite Decommissioning Project], provided the total inventory of Tc-99 based on average concentration and total mass shipped remains below 1.3 Ci or 2.05 Ci based upon the 95th upper confidence limit.
The above amount for disposal is in addition to the previously approved 23,000 m3 in April 2013 and 22,809 m3 in November of 2011."

NRC issues Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact on additional exemptions for disposal of Hematite (Missouri) fuel plant decommissioning waste at non-NRC-licensed disposal facility in Idaho

> Federal Register Volume 78, Number 247 (Tuesday, December 24, 2013) p. 77722-77724 (download full text external link)
> Download Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact external link, Dec. 12, 2013 (ADAMS Accession No. ML13269A308)
> View Docket ID NRC-2013-0184 external link

Westinghouse Electric Company LLC once again seeks additional exemptions to dispose of Hematite (Missouri) fuel plant decommissioning waste at non-NRC-licensed disposal facility in Idaho

On May 28, 2013, Westinghouse sent to NRC a third request for additional alternate disposal approval and exemptions for specific Hematite decommissioning project waste at the US Ecology Idaho facility.
> Download Westinghouse request May 28, 2013 external link

Westinghouse Electric Company LLC seeks additional exemptions to dispose of Hematite (Missouri) fuel plant decommissioning waste at non-NRC-licensed disposal facility in Idaho

On Jan. 16, 2012, Westinghouse sent to NRC a request for additional alternate disposal approval and exemptions for specific Hematite decommissioning project waste at the US Ecology Idaho facility.
On Feb. 1, 2013, NRC issued its Safety Evaluation Report regarding this request.
> Download Safety Evaluation Report, Feb. 1, 2013 external link
> Federal Register Volume 78, Number 24 (Tuesday, February 5, 2013) p. 8194-8195 (download full text external link)
> View Docket ID NRC-2009-0278 external link

On Apr. 11, 2013, NRC approved the request and issued a revised Safety Evaluation Report.
> Download NRC letter Apr. 11, 2013 external link
> Download Safety Evaluation Report, Apr. 11, 2013 external link

NRC issues Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for exemption of material from decommissioning of Hematite nuclear fuel plant for disposal at unlicensed facility in Idaho

> Federal Register: October 24, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 205), p. 65753-65755 (download full text external link)
> Download Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact related to issuance of Amendment No. 58 to Materials License No. SNM-33, Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC Hematite decommissioning project located in Festus, Missouri external link

NRC issues Environmental Assessment and FONSI on proposed waste disposal from decommissioning of Hematite nuclear fuel plant at unlicensed facility in Idaho

> Download NRC release Oct. 31, 2011 external link (PDF)
> Federal Register: September 29, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 189) p. 60557-60559 (download full text external link)
> Federal Register: October 31, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 210) p. 67229 (download full text external link)
> Download Environmental Assessment and Finding On No Significant Impact, Sep. 2011 external link (ADAMS Acc. No. ML112101726 - corrected)

NRC holding public meeting to discuss the Westinghouse Hematite nuclear fuel plant decommissioning plan

The NRC has scheduled a public meeting on July 12, 2011, to discuss the pending issuance of amendments to the Hematite license (NRC License No. SNM-00033), including approval of the site's decommissioning plan and the Hematite soil alternate disposal requests.
> Download NRC news July 1, 2011 external link (PDF)

NRC invites comment on Draft Environmental Assessment and FONSI on proposed waste disposal from decommissioning of Hematite nuclear fuel plant at unlicensed facility in Idaho

Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a License Amendment to Materials, License No. SNM-33, Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC, Hematite Decommissioning Project, Festus, Missouri.
The public comment period on the draft Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) closes on May 25, 2011.
Federal Register: April 25, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 79) p. 22926-22928 (download full text external link)
> Download Draft Environmental Assessment and FONSI external link (ADAMS Acc. No. ML110870992)
> View Docket ID NRC-2009-0278 external link

NRC issues opportunity to request a hearing and to petition for leave to intervene on proposed waste disposal from decommissioning of Hematite nuclear fuel plant at unlicensed facility in Idaho

The NRC has received a license amendment application from Westinghouse Electric Company LLC (WEC or the licensee) dated March 3, 2010, for disposal of NRC-licensed source, byproduct and special nuclear material pursuant to 10 CFR 20.2002 from its former fuel cycle facility located in Festus, Missouri. WEC holds NRC License No. SNM-00033, which authorizes the licensee to conduct decommissioning activities. The amendment requests authorization for WEC to transfer decommissioning waste to U.S. Ecology Idaho, Inc., a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C disposal facility located near Grand View, Idaho. The U.S. Ecology Idaho facility is regulated by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and is not an NRC-licensed facility. Pursuant to 10 CFR 30.11 and 70.17, WEC's application also requests that U.S. Ecology be granted exemptions from the licensing requirements of 10 CFR 30.3 and 70.3 for byproduct and special nuclear material, respectively. These exemptions are necessary because the disposal of byproduct and special nuclear material must occur at a facility licensed by the NRC to possess such material and the U.S. Ecology Idaho facility does not have an NRC license.

Requests for a hearing or leave to intervene must be filed by August 17, 2010.
Submit comments by September 16, 2010.
Federal Register: June 18, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 117) p. 34792-34794 (download full text external link)

Westinghouse Electric Company LLC seeks exemptions to dispose of Hematite (Missouri) fuel plant decommissioning waste at non-NRC-licensed disposal facility in Idaho

Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will hold a public meeting June 9, 2010, in Bruneau, Idaho, to brief members of the public on a proposal by Westinghouse Electric Co. to dispose of low-activity radioactive materials at the U.S. Ecology Disposal Facility in Grand View, Idaho.
> View NRC release June 2, 2010 external link

By letter dated May 21, 2009, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) received a license amendment application from Westinghouse Electric Company LLC (WEC), seeking authorization allowing WEC to transfer decommissioning waste to U.S. Ecology Idaho, Inc., a hazardous waste disposal facility located near Grand View, which does not have the NRC license required for such transfer.
A request for a hearing must be filed by October 5, 2009 (period extended by NRC order of Sep. 4, 2009).
Federal Register: September 15, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 177) p. 47287-47289 (download full text external link)

Notice of License Amendment Request of Westinghouse Electric Company LLC for Hematite Decommissioning Project, Festus, MO and Opportunity To Request a Hearing
Federal Register: July 6, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 127) p. 31994-31996 (download full text external link)

> Download Request for Alternate Disposal Approval and Exemption for Specific Hematite Project Waste external link (ML090180071)
> Download Review Acceptance Letter to Westinghouse on 20.2002 Alternate Disposal Request for Hematite external link (ML091690253)

 

NRC issues Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for building demolition at former Hematite fuel facility

Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact related to issuance of Amendment No. 52 to Materials License No. SNM-00033, Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC Hematite former fuel fabrication facility located in Festus, Missouri site (TAC NO. L52641) external link, June 14, 2006 (ADAMS ML061170282)

Federal Register: June 29, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 125) p. 37124-37129 (download full text external link)

NRC staff proposes $16,250 fine against Westinghouse for safety violations at shutdown Hematite fuel facility

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has proposed a $16,250 fine against Westinghouse Electric Co. for violations of NRC safety requirements during decommissioning activities at the company's Hematite Fuel Manufacturing Facility in Festus, Mo.
The fine is proposed for two violations of requirements for assuring that uranium used in nuclear fuel processing is properly controlled and stored to preclude any accidental nuclear reaction. The violations were identified in an NRC inspection conducted from January through April 2005.
> View NRC release Aug. 26, 2005 external link
> View Notice of Violation EA-05-104, Aug. 25, 2005 external link

Missouri Department of Natural Resources invites comment on Consent Decree with Westinghouse on Hematite fuel plant cleanup

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Attorney General's Office have entered into a consent decree with Westinghouse Electric Company LLC. This consent decree pertains to the Hematite Radioactive Site. The consent decree states Westinghouse will reimburse the state for past and future costs of oversight of response actions at the Hematite Radioactive Site. Westinghouse will also perform studies and response work consistent with the National Contingency Plan, 40 C.F.R. Part 300, including a remedial investigation and feasibility study, with a baseline human health risk assessment and ecological risk assessment.
The Department of Natural Resources invites the public to review and offer written comments on the consent decree until August 29, 2005.

> View DNR release (July 26, 2005) external link
> Download Consent Decree and Settlement between the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the State's Attorney Generals Office and Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, July 2005 external link (343k PDF)

Westinghouse seeks public comment on soil-removal plan for former Hematite nuclear fuel plant

Westinghouse Electric Co. seeks public comment on a plan to remove about 1,100 cubic yards of uranium-contaminated soil from the grounds of the company's shuttered nuclear fuel plant in Hematite, as part of a planned decommissioning of the facility.
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch Dec. 16 2004).

Westinghouse issues Hematite decommissioning plan

Westinghouse - Hematite Former Fuel Cycle Facility Decommissioning - Hematite Decommissioning Plan, Revision 0, License SNM-33, April 30, 2004, 95 p.
> Download full report external link (3.4MB PDF)

Inadvertent shipment of nuclear fuel pellets in "empty" zirconium tubes

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has begun a special inspection at the former Hematite Fuel Fabrication Facility in Festus, Missouri, to review the circumstances around an inadvertent shipment of nuclear fuel pellets, which were included in a shipment of zirconium metal tubes for reprocessing, from the facility to a recycling facility in Canada. The employees of Mississauga Metals and Alloys, Inc. external link, a recycling company located in Brampton, Ontario, Canada discovered 36 fuel pellets containing low-enriched uranium in the zirconium tubes.
> View NRC release July 31, 2003 external link

On September 4, 2003, Westinghouse informed the NRC that 63 additional fuel pellets were discovered in scrap zirconium tubes that had been shipped on June 18 and 25, 2003, to the Mississauga Metals and Alloys (MM&A) facility in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, for recycling. (NRC Event Report Sep. 5, 2003)

On December 22, 2003, NRC issued a Notice of Violation (EA-03-182 external link), but NRC did not propose a civil penalty in this case.

Chemicals from old nuclear plant are found in two more wells

Two more drinking wells in Jefferson County are contaminated with chemicals from a closed nuclear fuel plant in Hematite owned by Westinghouse Electric Co. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch Aug. 30, 2002)

Residents sue over well-water contamination

Three families whose drinking wells were contaminated with chemicals from the shuttered nuclear fuel plant in Hematite have sued Westinghouse Electric Co. and the previous owners of the plant.
The suits, filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court, allege that the companies knowingly deposited and released radioactive and chemical wastes at the plant site. The suits seek unspecified damages and name Westinghouse, its parent company, British Nuclear Fuels Ltd., ABB C-E Nuclear Power, Inc., and the plant's founder, Mallinckrodt chemical company, as defendants.
The plant was in operation from 1956 to 2001. Initially, it was used to fill military contracts, and later it manufactured nuclear-fuel-rod assemblies for commercial power plants.
The suits name as plaintiffs three of six families whose wells in 2002 were found to be contaminated with the chemicals, trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene and their byproducts. The chemicals were used as cleaning agents at the plant in the 1950s and 1960s and have been linked to cancer and other health problems. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch August 10, 2002)

NRC updates decommissioning of former nuclear fuel plant

Jefferson County residents concerned about possible well contamination from the former Hematite nuclear fuel plant got the chance on Apr. 3, 2002, to hear the government's update on the site's decommissioning and the planned cleanup.
State officials continued last week to take water samples from wells near the plant, about 35 miles south of St. Louis. Previous tests have showed four wells contaminated with traces of two chemicals linked to cancer and other health problems. (Carthage Press Apr. 4, 2002)
 
> View older issues


Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. Apollo nuclear fuel plant (Pennsylvania)

Radiation report cites years of 'large' releases at former Apollo and Parks nuclear fuel plants (Pennsylvania)

An expert's report on shuttered nuclear fuels plants in Armstrong County provides new detail on allegations that operators Babcock & Wilcox Co. and Atlantic Richfield Co. knew about worst-in-the-nation releases of radioactive materials that spanned decades, but opted not to do enough to protect neighbors from cancer-causing dust.
The 37-page report by Harvard University Radiation Safety Officer Joseph P. Ring, who teaches at Harvard and the University of Massachusetts, was filed late Tuesday (April 24) in a series of federal lawsuits against the companies by about 90 cancer victims. Mr. Ring found "numerous large-scale releases of ionizing radiation into the neighboring environment" during the operating lives of the plants in Apollo and Parks Township, which spanned 1958 through 1984, adding up to "the largest quantity ... of any nuclear facility in the United States." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Apr. 26, 2012)

More residents sue former Apollo and Parks nuclear fuel plant operators (Pennsylvania)

Fifteen area residents filed federal lawsuits on Friday (May 28) on their behalf or an estate, claiming that the operations of two former nuclear fuel plants in the Parks Township-Apollo area caused illness and death. The defendants, Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group and Atlantic Richfield, operated a uranium fuel-processing plant in Apollo and a plutonium plant in Parks from 1957-86. The lawsuits add to similar suits first filed Jan. 26 in the same federal court.
A first round of lawsuits settled in 2008 and 2009 for $80 million. The new suits covers plaintiffs whose illnesses didn't manifest until after the filing of the first lawsuits and other exceptions. The companies always have maintained that their operations did not cause illness and damages. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review May 29, 2010)

Babcock & Wilcox pays $52.5 million to settle with plaintiffs from Apollo and Parks area (Pennsylvania)

Babcock & Wilcox has settled a 14-year-long lawsuit for $52.5 million for personal injury, wrongful death and property damage to 365 claimants from the Apollo and Parks area. U.S. District Court Judge Donetta Ambrose, chief judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania, approved the settlement April 17, 2009. The plaintiffs alleged that airborne radioactive emissions from the B&W plants in Apollo and/or Parks, caused cancer, deaths and other illness, as well as property damage. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review April 17, 2009)

Settlement offered to some residents near former Apollo nuclear fuel plant (Pennsylvania)

Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) has offered $27.5 million to settle claims that pollution from a nuclear fuel processing plant damaged nearby residents' property and caused cancer and other illnesses. ARCO and plaintiff attorneys asked a federal judge to approve the proposed settlement in a joint motion filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh this week.
The case concerns the former Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp., or NUMEC, which processed uranium and plutonium for nuclear submarines and other purposes at a plant in Apollo borough and another in neighboring Parks Township, about 35 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The Apollo plant was built in 1957, and the Parks plant was built a few years later. Residents say they inhaled white radioactive dust for three decades and that microscopic particles of uranium from the plant caused an unusually high cancer rate. A doctor once testified that 351 of Apollo's 1,895 residents, or nearly one in five, had been diagnosed with some form of cancer. Atlantic Richfield Co. bought both plants in 1967 and sold them to Babcock & Wilcox Co. in 1971. (PennLive Feb. 8, 2008)


Parks Township SLDA (Shallow Land Disposal Area), Armstrong County (Pennsylvania)

NRC License No. SNM-2001, Docket No. 07003085

OIG report finds nuclear waste underestimated at Parks Township Shallow Land Disposal Area: "abysmal lack of records"

A federal report released today by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey external link, D-Pa., confirmed a significant underestimation of the amount of nuclear waste buried at a former Babcock and Wilcox plant site in Armstrong County. The report shows a lack of records at the Shallow Land Disposal Area, a 44-acre site in Parks Township near Apollo. Mr. Casey commissioned the report by Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Inspector General. The study found that a remediation plan begun by the Army Corps of Engineers "significantly underestimated" the amount of the "complex materials" at the site. "This report confirms an abysmal lack of records and raises serious concerns about the NRC's oversight of the SLDA," Mr. Casey said in a news release. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Mar. 14, 2014)
> Download Office of Inspector General report: NRC Oversight of Decommissioning Activities at the Shallow Land Disposal Area Consistent with USACE MOU, March 6, 2014 external link (10.2MB PDF - image scan only)

Cleanup costs expected to skyrocket at Parks Township nuclear waste dump

The cleanup costs for the nuclear waste dump in Parks Township are expected to soar from $170 million to at least $250 million and maybe as much as half a billion dollars because of recently discovered complexities of the site and safety considerations. The waste dump, currently owned by BWX Technologies (Babcock & Wilcox) was active from about 1960 to the early 1970s receiving nuclear and chemical waste from the former Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. in Apollo and Parks, which produced nuclear fuel for submarines and a range of nuclear products for the government and private industry.
After starting and stopping excavation last year in two of 10 waste trenches on the 44-acre site along Route 66, the agency is revising its cleanup plans and budget and changing contractors. After the first shovel hit the dirt last summer to dig out the first trenches, more than nuclear waste hit the fan. Worked stopped at the Parks site in October after workers for the prime contractor, Cabrera Services, of East Hartford, Con., allegedly mishandled some nuclear waste in barrels, according to the Corps. The contractor violated safety procedures that were in place to prevent too much radioactive material from being placed close together, potentially causing a chain reaction that could release unsafe levels of radiation. The situation is known as a "criticality." Although no one was hurt, a criticality can cause severe radiation exposure to workers and contamination of the environment. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review March 4, 2012)

Removal of radioactive material from Parks Township nuclear waste site interrupted

The removal of tons of radioactive soil and materials from a nuclear waste dump in Armstrong County has been halted because of "a deviation" from the site plan established by the contractor and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Jeff Hawk, a spokesman for the corps, said although the deviation presented no health threat to workers or local residents, excavation work at the rural Parks Township site will not resume until "corrective measures" are put in place.
The plants closed in the mid-1980s, and residents and officials battled for years over a cleanup plan that was put into place this year. Cabrera Services, a Connecticut-based contractor, began the eight-year, $180 million excavation in August. On Sept. 30, however, the work was stopped.
(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct. 18, 2011)

Army Corps of Engineers to remove radioactive material from Parks Township nuclear waste site

Five years after its initial assessment of a former nuclear waste dump in Armstrong County, the Army Corps of Engineers has decided to pursue a $53 million plan to excavate and remove soil from the 40-acre site along the Kiskiminetas River.
Based on the decision announced by the corps on Dec. 11, 2007, a contractor will dig out an estimated 40,000 cubic yards [30,582 cubic metres] of radioactive waste material and soil from the property known as the "Shallow Land Disposal Area." It is a former disposal site for the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Co., or NUMEC, in Parks, 32 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
The soil will be taken to a radioactive dump site in Clive, Utah. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Dec. 12, 2007)
> Download USACE release Dec. 11, 2007 external link (PDF)
> Download Record of Decision for Shallow Land Disposal Area in Parks Township, August 2007 external link (5.5MB PDF)

On Aug. 19, 2011, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that it and its contractor, Cabrera Services Inc., Conn., will begin excavation work next week to remove radiological contaminants at the Shallow Land Disposal Area, Parks Township.

Bill calls for cleanup plan

A bill submitted by U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, mandates that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers develop a cleanup plan for the Parks Township SLDA. (Post Gazette March 30, 2002)

"Until 1970, the SLDA was used for the disposal of hazardous and low-level wastes from a nuclear fuel fabrication facility in nearby Apollo, Pennsylvania. Based on available records, the radioactive material was placed in the trenches in the SLDA and consists of natural uranium, enriched and depleted uranium, and lesser quantities of thorium, americium, and plutonium. It is estimated that up to 700,000 cubic feet [20,000 cubic meters] of radioactive material is involved. [...]
An abandoned coalmine lies between 60 and 100 feet [18 and 30 meters] beneath the upper trench area. Mine subsidence and underground mine fires are a concern. Progressive collapse of an abandoned mine over several years recently caused structural damage to residential foundations in nearby Leechburg." (Pennsylvania DEP Site Summaries external link)

> View USACE FUSRAP site info external link

> Download USACE Preliminary Assessment, March 11, 2002 external link (1.3M PDF)

In H.R. 3338 ("Making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2002, and for other purposes.") the cleanup of the site had been transfered to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This bill on Jan. 10, 2002, became Public Law No: 107-117.


Former Oak Ridge, Tennessee, enrichment plant

Demolition of Oak Ridge enrichment plant building completed

On Dec. 19, 2013, the Department of Energy announced that it has completed demolition of the K-25 gaseous diffusion building, the largest facility in the DOE complex.
The K-25 building, located at the East Tennessee Technology Park formerly known as the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, was built in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project. The K-25 building operated until 1964, producing enriched uranium for defense and commercial purposes.

DOE to pay $800,000 in environmental fines for failure to meet cleanup milestones at former Oak Ridge enrichment plant

The Department of Energy and environmental regulators have resolved two disputes involving cleanup activities in Oak Ridge, and DOE has agreed to pay more than $800,000 in fines for failing to meet multiple milestones. Under terms of the resolution, DOE will pay $500,000 in fines to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and $303,388 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
One of the disputes involved tons of excess materials and equipment stored at the former K-25 and K-27 uranium-enrichment facilities. DOE reportedly had not completed removal of all those materials as scheduled, despite sending the regulators a series of letters indicating the projects had been completed.
The other dispute was similar. The state and EPA said the Department of Energy prematurely indicated it was finished with a pond restoration project in Oak Ridge, even though a damaged barrier - that potentially jeopardized the project's success by allowing unwanted fish into the pond from nearby Poplar Creek - had yet to be repaired. (Knoxville News Sentinel Oct. 26, 2010)

ATSDR releases Public Health Assessment on historical fluoride releases at former Oak Ridge enrichment plant

On Sep. 24, 2010, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released its public health assessment (PHA) of historical air releases from the K-25/S-50 sites at the Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee. The Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant at the K-25 site generated a variety of radioactive and nonradioactive wastes between 1944 and 1995, when the facility closed. The K-25 site is now the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP).
The federal public health agency concluded that current and future exposures away from the site itself are unlikely to pose a threat to human health. ATSDR evaluated potential past short-term (acute) and long-term (chronic) off-site exposures from K-25/S-50 air releases of ionizing radiation, uranium, hydrogen fluoride, and fluoride in three nearby communities. Happy Valley, Sugar Grove, and Union/Lawnville had the highest potential exposures because of their proximity to the site.
In the PHA, ATSDR concluded that: > Download Public Health Assessment, K-25 and S-50 Uranium and Fluoride Releases, Oak Ridge Reservation (USDOE), Oak Ridge, Roane County, Tennessee, EPA FACILITY ID: TN1890090003, September 13, 2010 external link (17.5M PDF)

NRC issues Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for change in exemptions granted for disposal of Oak Ridge enrichment plant demolition waste at Clive, Utah, radwaste disposal site

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering issuance of the fifth amendment to an Order that was initially issued to Envirocare of Utah, Inc. on May 24, 1999 (64 FR 27826). The amended Order would continue to grant EnergySolutions (formerly Envirocare of Utah, Inc.) an exemption from the requirements for an NRC license under 10 CFR Part 70. The amendment is required to allow EnergySolutions to receive steel piping waste containing residual special nuclear material (SNM). The steel piping waste will be generated by the Department of Energy as it decommissions the K-25 gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
EnergySolutions requests additional changes to the Order so that it may receive and dispose of Oak Ridge K-25 gaseous diffusion plant piping from the Department of Energy (DOE) in larger containers than would be allowable under the 2006 Order.
The public comment period on the draft FONSI closes on November 6, 2009.

Federal Register: October 7, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 193) p. 51622-51625 (download full text external link)
> Open Docket ID: NRC-2009-0440 external link

On June 18, 2010, NRC issued the final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact.

Federal Register: June 28, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 123) p. 36701-36705 (download full text external link)

Widespread presence of technetium-99 could slow demolition of former Oak Ridge enrichment plant, raise cost

It appears the presence of technetium-99 may be more widespread than previously thought in processing equipment at the K-25 uranium-enrichment plant. If so, that could complicate plans for taking down the east wing of the massive, U-shaped building and potentially delay the project's schedule and jack up the cost.
The radioactive technetium, along with other products of nuclear fission, was introduced into the Oak Ridge equipment decades ago when reprocessed uranium - that had previously been in a nuclear reactor - was used as feed material to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel. The remnants of Tc-99 are problematic because regulations allow only tiny amounts in DOE's Oak Ridge nuclear landfill, where most of the massive amount of contaminated rubble from K-25's demolition is destined for disposal. (Knoxville News Sentinel Sep. 9, 2009)

Predemolition work begins at former Oak Ridge enrichment plant

Predemolition work at the former K-27 uranium-enrichment building is under way, and the Department of Energy said the Recovery Act project will employ between 225 and 275 people for most of the two-year effort. Bechtel Jacobs Co., DOE's cleanup manager in Oak Ridge, is managing the $118 million project. DOE said the work will involve removal of asbestos and other hazardous materials and generally prepare the big four-story building - with a total square footage equivalent to six football fields - so it can be demolished safely in the future. (Knoxville News Sentinel Aug. 20, 2009)

ATSDR study finds no public health hazards from past Oak Ridge enrichment plant releases

No public health hazards occurred from past atmospheric releases of ionizing radiation, uranium, fluoride and hydrogen fluoride from the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant (ORGDP) is the conclusion of a public health assessment issued by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
The study looked at the atmospheric releases of radioactive and nonradioactive hazardous substances from the K-25/ S-50 facilities between 1944 and 1995 when the facility closed.  After evaluating potential chronic and acute exposure to ionizing radiation and uranium releases, ATSDR found those doses were not expected to cause adverse health effects for people living near the ORGDP. The ORGDP is currently known as the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP).
Similarly, ATSDR looked at doses of fluoride and hydrogen fluoride released into the atmosphere either accidentally or in controlled releases during routine maintenance. ATSDR found potential chronic (long-term) exposures to fluoride and hydrogen fluoride were not a public health hazard for people living near the ORGDP.  Hydrogen fluoride is a by-product of the uranium enrichment process.
Comment period ends February 20, 2009.
> View ATSDR release Jan. 5, 2009 external link
> Download K-25 and S-50 Uranium and Fluoride Releases Public Health Assessment - Public Comment Version, Dec. 23, 2008 external link (6MB PDF)

 

Further delay for demolition of former Oak Ridge enrichment plant

The demolition of the shuttered, mile-long K-25 Building where uranium was enriched for nuclear weapons throughout the Cold War has been pushed back more than two years to 2010, officials say. Department of Energy contractor Bechtel Jacobs Co. was supposed to have K-25 - once the largest building under one roof in the world - torn down by Sept. 30, 2008, as part of a $1.6 billion accelerated cleanup contract signed in 2003. But a lack of funding, safety concerns - including a worker falling through a floor in 2006 - and project revisions have delayed the undertaking, which is proving to be almost as much work as constructing K-25 in the first place during World War II's Manhattan Project. (The Oak Ridger Aug. 21, 2007)

 

Cleanup of former Oak Ridge uranium enrichment plant behind schedule

Federal officials say the former Oak Ridge uranium enrichment plant is not expected to be cleaned up on time and the government's contractor may lose millions of dollars as a result. U.S. Department of Energy's environmental manager Steve McCracken says a revised timeline calls for closure of the K-25 plant site at Oak Ridge in the summer of 2009, nearly 10 months past the earlier forecast. Officials say a number of factors have contributed to the delay, including inadequate funds, increasing cost of materials and complexity of some clean-up tasks. (AP April 15, 2006)

 

ATSDR report finds no public exposure to contaminated groundwater from the Oak Ridge Reservation

The public comment version of the public health assessment evaluating off-site groundwater adjacent to the Oak Ridge Reservation was released by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
> View ATSDR release July 8, 2005 external link · ATSDR release Aug. 4, 2005 external link
> Download Draft ATSDR Public Health Assessment, Contaminated Off-Site Groundwater from the Oak Ridge Reservation, July 2005 external link

 

ATSDR releases public health assessment on Oak Ridge Y-12 uranium releases

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) evaluated past and current exposure to uranium released from the Y-12 plant and found that the off-site exposures to uranium were too low to be a health hazard for either radiation or chemical health effects.

> View ATSDR release, March 24, 2004 external link
> Download ATSDR Public Health Assessment, Y-12 Uranium Releases, May 2004 external link

 

DOE releases 2002 Oak Ridge Environmental Report

The 2002 Annual Site Environmental Report for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Reservation facilities is now available.
> Oak Ridge release, March 8, 2004 external link
> Oak Ridge Reservation Annual Site Environmental Report for 2002 external link

 

Report on the security of UF6 at the former Oak Ridge enrichment plant classified

On Dec. 18, 2003, DOE's Inspector General finalized an inspection report on the security of UF6 at the former Oak Ridge site. The inspection report is classified.

Inspection Report on "The Security of Uranium Hexafluoride at the East Tennessee Technology Park (U)", DOE - Report IG-0633 (PDF)
> Download classification notice external link (PDF)

 

Oak Ridge water study called off

The U.S. Department of Energy has called off its investigation of water-quality problems at the former K-25 uranium enrichment site, saying the study has accomplished all that's reasonable achievable. Richard Frounfelker, DOE's project manager, said he has "very high confidence" that the Oak Ridge plant's drinking water in past years was not contaminated, as has been alleged.
Several workers at K-25 came forward a couple of years ago and said cross-connection of pipes allowed untreated or chemically contaminated water to potentially enter the plant's potable water supplies. There was speculation that water problems might explain some of the illnesses of plant employees, especially office workers who didn't have known exposures to nuclear materials or toxic chemicals. (caller.com Feb. 10, 2002)

 

DOE releases independent investigation report on former Oak Ridge, Tennessee, enrichment plant

An Energy Department report for the first time details the radioactive and chemical hazards faced by workers at the old Oak Ridge, Tennessee, uranium enrichment plant, which used to enrich uranium for nuclear bombs.
The report is based on a six-month investigation into how practices at the old K-25 uranium enrichment plant may have affected the environment and endangered workers.
During World War II and the Cold War, K-25 workers were exposed to radiation from uranium, plutonium and neptunium at higher than allowable levels. Workers also were exposed to toxic substances such as beryllium and fluorine.

DOE news release Oct 11, 2000
> Download Independent Investigation of the East Tennessee Technology Park, October 2000 external link, U.S. DOE Office of Oversight Environment, Safety and Health


Sequoyah Fuels Corp. Gore uranium conversion plant, Oklahoma

License No. SUB-1010; Docket No. 04008027

Aerial view: Google Maps external link new window · MSRMaps external link new window

NRC Facility Info external link

 

Denison requests license amendment for processing of residues from former Gore conversion plant as alternate feed at White Mesa mill (Utah)

> See here

 

Demolition of Sequoyah Fuels Corp. Gore uranium conversion plant begins; safety of disposal cell questioned

18 years after the Sequoyah Fuels plant near Gore was closed due to uranium contamination found in the plant and in groundwater, contractors and demolition crews have begun the process of dismantling the plant.
The plant, which at one time processed uranium to use in fuel rods for nuclear power plants, was closed in 1993 due to contamination. John Ellis, the one-time president of Sequoyah Fuels and now the demolition contractor, said the dismantling and disposal of the plant is part of a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved plan.
Ed Henshaw, Sequoyah County director of emergency management, said "I probably shouldn't say anything with me being in the position I am, but I have a right to my opinion as a private citizen. No, I don’t like them burying those materials on site, that close to the river." Henshaw said Oklahoma was part of an interstate compact that chose to have nuclear waste taken to a location in Nebraska. "I guess the NRC has chosen to ignore their own plans. In the long run the citizens will have to pay when those cells leak." Henshaw said he has seen this process used in the past and it has leaked every time. He has no reason to believe it won't leak this time. The plan from start to finish is costing the parent company, General Atomics, in San Diego, $30 million, Ellis said.
Ellis explained that the disposal cell is made of an impermeable synthetic liner, about three-eighths of an inch [9.5 mm] thick, spread over a compacted clay base, which is sandwiched between two 18-inch [46 cm] layers sand. When the cell is full, another layer of clay, sand and the synthetic liner will be added sealing the cell. Steel and concrete from the building and surrounding plant is ground and crushed into smaller pieces, deposited in layers into the disposal cell, covered with more clay and compacted even further by heavy equipment. When the dismantling is complete a layer of topsoil will be added to the sealed cell. The surface will be leveled for proper drainage and native plants will be planted. The disposal cell uses between 11 and 12 acres, but will encompass nearly 20 acres of the 60 acres of the property, when the sloping edges are taken into consideration, Ellis said. (Sequoyah County Times Oct. 31, 2011)

 

NRC approves groundwater corrective action plan for site of former SFC Gore conversion plant

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering issuance of a license amendment to Sequoyah Fuels Corporation (SFC or licensee) for License No. SUB-1010. This action would authorize SFC to implement the groundwater corrective action plan (CAP) proposed for its site in Gore, Oklahoma.
SFC's CAP specifies the use of interceptor trenches and recovery wells placed in hydrologically strategic positions to intercept groundwater contamination remaining onsite. The CAP does not draw back any contamination that has passed the extraction points. Consequently, the CAP allows small pollutant loads (defined as pollutant concentration x volumetric flow) to enter the surface water system. However, NRC staff determined that the pollutant loads to surface water pose little threat to human health and safety and the environment.
> Federal Register: September 28, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 187) p. 59748-59749 (download full text external link)
> Download Final Groundwater Corrective Action Plan (CAP), June 14, 2010 external link (46.2M PDF, ADAMS Acc. No. ML102380151)
> Download Safety Evaluation Report for the proposed Groundwater Corrective Action Plan external link, Sep. 2010 (ADAMS Acc. No. ML101170749)
The requested license amendment was issued on Sep. 29, 2010.

 

Sequoyah Fuels Corp. refuses to pay full property taxes for Gore plant, since contamination lowered its value [!]

The Gore district has received only about 85 percent of its ad valorem property taxes revenues because the uranium-processing company's taxes are being held in escrow pending resolution of the lawsuit, now in the appeals process, outgoing Gore School Superintendent Kincaid has said. He said there is more than $1.4 million in that escrow account. Sequoyah Fuels challenged the property tax assessment, contending contamination of the now-defunct property lowered its value [!]. (Southwest Times Record Feb. 10, 2010 - emphasis added)

 

NRC approves on-site disposal cell at former Sequoyah Fuels Gore conversion plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved Sequoyah Fuels' plan to dispose of contaminated materials in an on-site cell, a plan opposed by some residents near the Gore-area plant. John Ellis, Sequoyah Fuels president, said the NRC approved the plant's on-site disposal site Monday (April 20, 2009), "after 16 years and two months."
The plant, which at one time processed uranium to use in fuel rods for nuclear power plants, was closed in 1993 after it was found that portions of the plant and groundwater were contaminated. Sequoyah Fuels and its parent company, General Atomics, have been working to meet the requirements to close the plant ever since. Ellis said Tuesday (April 21, 2009) that the proposed on-site disposal cell will cover about 11 acres in the center of the property, which is about 60 acres now. The completed cell will cover about 17 acres, including its sloped sides, and will be about 50 feet tall. (Sequoyah County Times April 22, 2009)
> Download Final Safety Evaluation Report, April 20, 2009 external link (ADAMS Acc. No. ML090260323)
Federal Register: April 28, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 80) p. 19240-19241 (download full text external link)

 

NRC issues Final Environmental Impact Statement for the reclamation of Sequoyah Fuels Corporation site in Gore, OK

> View NRC release June 2, 2008 external link
Federal Register: May 28, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 103) p. 30646-30647 (download full text external link)

> Download Environmental Impact Statement for the Reclamation of the Sequoyah Fuels Corporation Site in Gore, Oklahoma (NUREG-1888) - Final Report, May 2008 external link

 

NRC invites comment on Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the reclamation of Sequoyah Fuels Corporation site in Gore, OK

Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Reclamation of Sequoyah Fuels Corporation Site in Gore, OK, NUREG 1888, and Notice of Public Meeting for Comment.
Written comments submitted by mail should be postmarked by November 5, 2007 to ensure consideration.
> Federal Register: September 21, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 183) p. 54080-54082 (download full text external link)

> View NRC release Sep. 24, 2007 external link
> Download Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Reclamation of the Sequoyah Fuels Corporation Site in Gore, Oklahoma, License No. SUB-1010, Draft Report for Comment, NUREG-1888, September 2007 external link · alternate source (ADAMS Acc. No. ML072570039) external link

 

Sequoyah Fuels reports continuing exceedance of contaminant permit limits for effluants at former Gore conversion plant

"The source of these exceedances is contaminated water present in Pond 2."

 

Sequoyah Fuels issues Environmental Report for Reclamation Plan of former Gore conversion plant

Environmental Report, Reclamation Plan, Sequoyah Facility, Oct. 2006 (ADAMS Acc. No. ML063050298 external link)

 

Disposition of depleted uranium stored at former Gore conversion plant

Depleted uranium shipments completed
On March 26, 2007, the last truckloads of depleted uranium left Sequoyah Fuels of Gore headed for disposal at a former atomic bomb testing site in Nevada. (Sequoyah County Times March 28, 2007)

Depleted uranium shipments suspended after leakage
Sequoyah Fuels halted shipments of depleted uranium after authorities in Nevada found some of the substance had seeped through a steel shipping container. Sequoyah Fuels president John Ellis says the five containers still at the plant may have to be reopened, lined and resealed before being transported to a former atomic-bomb test site in Nevada, where the waste eventually will be buried. Ellis suspects the breach occurred because the drums have been exposed to the elements for the past 13 or 14 years. (AP Feb. 16, 2007)

Depleted uranium being relocated from former SFC Gore plant to Nevada
The U.S. Army has begun removing about one million pounds of depleted uranium, or DUF4, from Sequoyah Fuels at Gore. John Ellis, Sequoyah Fuels president, said the removal began Feb. 4, 2007, and will most likely continue throughout the week. He said the DUF4 is stored in sealed 55-gallon drums. The drums are stacked into steel containers, which are then welded and sealed. Each container holds about 38,000 pounds of DUF4, he added. Both the drums and the steel containers are checked for leaks, he added. The containers are being taken to a former atomic bomb testing site in Nevada. "It will actually will be buried at that site," Ellis said. (Sequoyah County Times Feb. 7, 2007)

U.S. Army must remove depleted uranium stored at former Gore conversion plant
Sequoyah Fuels, the former uranium processing plant near Gore, is one step closer to closing after a clause to have the U.S. Army remove depleted uranium from the plant was included in the Defense Authorization Act signed by President George W. Bush last week. (Sequoyah County Times Nov. 1, 2006)

SFC calls for disposition of depleted uranium stored at former Gore conversion plant
Sequoyah Fuels Corp. officials have asked U.S. legislators to assist in removing about 1,200 drums of depleted uranium from the closed uranium processing plant near Gore. The barrels containing 1.5 million pounds (680 metric tonnes) of depleted uranium have been stored at the site when the facility finished government-contract work involving uranium provided by the federal government. The site was used to convert DUF6 to DUF4 for use by the U.S. Army in anti-tank ammunition. (Sequoyah County Times May 26, 2006)

 

NRC approves SFC Gore conversion plant raffinate sludge dewatering proposal

On Jan. 12, 2005, NRC issued a Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for the raffinate sludge dewatering proposal at the SFC Gore conversion plant.
The raffinate sludge is currently stored onsite in three lined ponds, which contain about 1,000,000 cubic feet [28,316 m3] of sludge containing 15 to 20 percent solids. The sludge must be dewatered before it can be properly disposed of in the on-site disposal cell. SFC has proposed to dewater the raffinate sludge using a pressurized filter press system, which will increase the solids content to approximately 45 to 50 percent and reduce the volume to approximately 485,000 cubic feet [13,734 m3]. The dewatered raffinate sludge will be put into polypropylene bags and stored onsite prior to disposal in the cell.

Federal Register: January 25, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 15) p. 3568-3569 (download full text external link)

> See also: Federal Register: March 17, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 52) p. 12715-12716 (download full text external link)

 

NRC approves SFC Gore conversion plant Ground Water Monitoring Plan

On Aug. 19, 2005, NRC issued a Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Ground Water Monitoring Plan at the SFC Gore conversion plant.
Federal Register: August 19, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 160) p. 48785-48786 (download full text external link)

Notice of Receipt of License Amendment Request from the Sequoyah Fuels Corp. To Approve a Ground Water Monitoring Plan for Its Gore, Oklahoma Facility, and Opportunity To Request a Hearing
Federal Register: August 25, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 164) p. 51034 (download full text external link)

 

NRC announces opportunity for hearing on SFC Gore conversion plant Ground Water Corrective Action Plan

Notice of Receipt of License Amendment Request From the Sequoyah Fuels Corp. To Approve a Ground Water Corrective Action Plan for Its Gore, Oklahoma Facility, and Opportunity To Request a Hearing

Federal Register: August 25, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 164) p. 51033-51034 (download full text external link)

A request for a hearing must be filed within 30 days of August 25, 2003.

 

NRC announces opportunity for hearing re reclamation plan for Gore conversion plant

"The U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has received, by letter dated January 28, 2003, a request from Sequoyah Fuels Corp. (SFC) for approval of a license amendment to Materials License SUB- 1010, to address clean up and reclamation of the SFC site."

Federal Register: April 15, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 72) p. 18268-18269 (download full text external link)

A request for a hearing must be filed within 30 days of April 15, 2003.

 

Reclamation Plan for Gore conversion plant available

Reclamation Plan Sequoyah Facility
Sequoyah Fuels Corporation, Gore, Oklahoma, January 2003
(available for download through ADAMS external link)

 

NRC changes legal status of wastes at Gore conversion plant

Federal Register: November 14, 2002 (Vol. 67, No. 220) p. 69048-69049 (download full text external link):
"On January 5, 2001, SFC requested that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) determine if waste material from the solvent extraction process at its site could be classified as AEA 11e.(2) byproduct material. By Staff Requirements Memorandum to SECY-02-0095, dated July 25, 2002, the Commission concluded that some of the waste at the SFC site could properly be classified as AEA 11e.(2) byproduct material. By letter dated September 30, 2002, SFC requested license SUB-1010 be amended to possess 11e.(2) byproduct material. An NRC administrative review found the request for license amendment (LA) acceptable to begin a technical review. If NRC approves the amendment request, SFC will be required to submit a reclamation plan for the site that meets the requirements of Appendix A to 10 CFR 40. If that plan is approved and SFC remediates the site to the specified criteria, the U.S. Department of Energy would become the owner of the land and responsible for long term stewardship under provisions of Title II to the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act."
A request for a hearing must be filed within thirty (30) days of Nov. 14, 2002.

On Dec. 11, 2002, NRC issued the requested license amendment.

> See also NRC release Nov. 18, 2002 external link
> See also: SECY-02-0095, APPLICABILITY OF SECTION 11e.(2) OF THE ATOMIC ENERGY ACT TO MATERIAL AT THE SEQUOYAH FUELS CORPORATION URANIUM CONVERSION FACILITY (June 4, 2002): HTML external link · PDF (3.5M) external link

 

NRC to hold public meeting on Decommissioning of Sequoyah Fuels Corporation Uranium Conversion Facility in Gore, Oklahoma

Federal Register: October 2, 2000 (Vol. 65, No. 191) p. 58832-58833 (download full text external link):
"SUMMARY: The NRC will conduct a meeting to discuss the status of the environmental review of decommissioning activities at the SFC facility near Gore, Oklahoma, and to obtain public comments on the environmental impacts that need to be addressed. Ample time will be provided for public comment at the meeting, although comments and questions will generally be limited to the remediation of the SFC facility. This meeting is part of the continuing process to keep affected stakeholders and the public informed of plans, schedules and important issues related to the remediation of the SFC facility.

DATES: The NRC will meet with the public on Tuesday, October 17, 2000, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m."

> See also NRC news release Oct. 10, 2000 external link

 

Decommissioning of the Sequoyah Fuels Corp. site near Gore, Oklahoma to be licensed

from Federal Register, June 9, 1999 (Vol. 64, No. 110) p. 31023 (download full text external link):
"Notice of Consideration of an Amendment Request for Sequoyah Fuels Corp., Gore, Oklahoma and Opportunity for a Hearing

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering issuance of a license amendment to materials license SUB-1010 to authorize decommissioning of the Sequoyah Fuels Corp. (SFC) site near Gore, Oklahoma. This license is issued to SFC to possess contaminated material at its Gore site. NRC licenses these facilities under 10 CFR part 40. Specifically, the license authorizes SFC to possess up to 20 million metric tons of source material in any form. The contaminated material at the Gore site is in the form of uranium, uranium oxides, uranium fluorides, thorium, radium, and decay-chain products in process equipment and buildings, soil, sludge, and groundwater." [...] (emphasis added)

 

Uranium processing plant sprays radioactive waste as fertilizer

The shutdown Sequoyah Fuels uranium conversion plant is disposing of low-level radioactive waste by spraying it on 9,000 acres of company-owned grazing land. (The Seattle Times, July 4, 1997)

In 1999, a total of 5.53 million gallons (20.9 million litres) of ammonium nitrate fertilizer was applied to 80 acres (32 hectares) of a control plot which is located within the facility boundary. Forage samples collected from the first cutting had excess molybdenum concentrations of 47 mg/kg, while the caution level is 20 mg/kg. (Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizer Application Program, 1999 Completion Report, Sequoyah Fuels Corporation, April 28, 2000)

In 2006, a total of 7.4 million gallons (28 million litres) of ammonium nitrate fertilizer was applied. The forage sample collected for the first cutting during 2006 had elevated molybdenum concentrations of 53.8 mg/kg. SFC determined that use of the hay should be restricted. (Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizer Application Program, 2006 Completion Report, Sequoyah Fuels Corporation, April 25, 2007)


General Atomics San Diego facility (California)

License No. SNM-696; Docket No. 07000734

NRC Facility Info external link

 

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