Current Issues - Depleted Uranium Manufacturing Facilities
(last updated 9 Dec 2017)
> See also: Depleted Uranium Processing and Storage Facilities
- Aerojet Ordnance, Chino Hills, California
- Aerojet Ordnance Tennessee, Jonesboro, TN
- Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant, Arden Hills, Minnesota
- Iowa Army Ammunition Plant (IAAAP), Middletown, Des Moines County, Iowa
- Former National Lead Inc. Colonie site, Albany, New York
- Starmet CMI Inc. Barnwell facility, South Carolina
- Nuclear Metals/Starmet Concord Superfund site, Massachusetts
- Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico
- RMI Environmental Services (now Earthline Technologies), Ashtabula, Ohio
- Lima Army Tank Plant, Ohio
- United Kingdom
SFC calls for disposition of depleted uranium stored at former Gore conversion plant (Oklahoma)
> See here
Aerojet ordered to conduct study on chemical and uranium contamination at Chino Hills
Aerojet in Chino Hills has been ordered by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control to conduct a comprehensive human health and ecological risk assessment for chemical and uranium contamination in the soil, surface water, and subsurface water.
Aerojet manufactured and tested explosives and chemical warfare agents from 1954 to 1995 at the end of Woodview Road, south of Peyton Drive, under government contracts.
Under the supervision of the DTSC, Aerojet has been cleaning the site since 1995 to a level that would allow residential development.
Aerojet used to be called Aerojet Ordnance Co. but changed its name to Aerojet Rocketdyne in 2013 when it was acquired by Rocketdyne.
Tennessee Division of Radiological Health License No.: S-90009
Fire in the depleted uranium machining bay
Event Date: 08/04/2004 - AGREEMENT STATE REPORT
"Event description: The licensee called to report a fire in the depleted uranium (DU) machining bay. The fire spread into the ventilation duct and filter housing. The fire was contained inside the ventilation duct and filter housing. The fire blistered the paint on the ventilation ducting and Torit filter housing and breached the ventilation system filters (bag and HEPA). A minor release to the environment occurred through the stack. Visible smoke was observed coming through the stack for a 6 - 8 minute period until the ventilation blast gate was closed. Air sample data indicated the uranium in air concentration in the machining area was 2% DAC. The air effluent concentration through the stack was 15% of the effluent limit. Personnel were evacuated from the DU machining area and from the office areas. Production at the grinder will not restart until the cause of the fire is known and corrective actions can be taken to prevent reoccurrence."
(NRC Event Notification Report for Aug. 11, 2004, Event No. 40931)
(DAC = Derived Air Concentration)
NRC License: SUB-971
NRC Docket No. 04007982
NRC terminates license for Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing a license
amendment to terminate Source Material License No. SUB-00971 issued to
ATK Ordnance and Ground Systems, LLC, (ATK) and to authorize for
unrestricted use its former depleted uranium production facilities,
located at the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant, Arden Hills,
Federal Register: January 3, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 1) p. 125-126 (download full text )
NRC to hold meeting on decommissioning of Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant, Minnesota
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will discuss with the City of Arden Hills the status of decommissioning activities at the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant in a public meeting, March 31, 2004, in Arden Hills, Minnesota. The plant which formerly manufactured ammunition containing depleted uranium, is located near Arden Hills.
> View NRC release Mar. 25, 2004
NIOSH releases report detailing historic worker exposure at Iowa Army Ammunition Plant (IAAAP)
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH)
Office of Compensation Analysis and Support (OCAS) has released a Site Profile Document for the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant (IAAAP). The report attempts to outline threats associated with handling depleted uranium and other radioactive materials from the 1940s to the mid-1970s. Several passages in the document refer to assumptions about the amount of radiation and chemicals workers were exposed to, because exact figures do not exist. (The Hawk Eye Apr. 27, 2004)
> Download ORAU Team, NIOSH Dose Reconstruction Project: Technical Basis Document for Atomic Energy Operations at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant (IAAP), ORAUT-TKBS-0018, April 16, 2004 (394k PDF - NIOSH OCAS)
ATSDR releases final version of Public Health Consultation finding no public health hazard from depleted uranium exposure at Iowa Army Ammunition Plant (IAAAP)
On Aug. 25, 2003, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) announced the finding of its public health consultation that exposure to beryllium and depleted uranium, if any occurred, at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant (IAAAP) in Middletown, Des Moines County, Iowa, was not at levels significant enough to cause a public health hazard.
The document was available for public review and comment at local repositories through Oct. 3, 2003.
> View ATSDR release Aug. 25, 2003
On Jan. 5, 2004, ATSDR released the final version of the public health consultation.
> View ATSDR release Jan. 5, 2004
State health studies of workers and residents around former National Lead Inc. Colonie depleted uranium munitions plant site
Depleted and enriched uranium exposure quantified in former factory workers and local residents of NL Industries, Colonie, New York, more than three decades after production ceased:
Depleted and enriched uranium exposure quantified in former factory workers and local residents of NL Industries, Colonie, NY USA, by Arnason JG, Pellegri CN, Moore JL, et al., in: Environmental Research, May 11, 2016 (aheadofprint)
- We conducted a biomonitoring study in a larger cohort of 32 former workers and 99 residents, who may have been exposed during its period of operation, by measuring total uranium, natural uranium, depleted uranium, and enriched uranium in urine using Sector Field Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry (SF-ICP-MS).
- Among workers, 84% were exposed to depleted uranium, 9% to enriched uranium and depleted uranium, and 6% to natural uranium only. For those exposed to depleted uranium, urinary isotopic and total uranium compositions result from binary mixing of natural uranium and the depleted uranium plant feedstock.
Among residents, 8% show evidence of depleted uranium exposure, whereas none shows evidence of enriched uranium exposure. For residents, the total uranium geometric mean is significantly below the value reported for National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). There is no significant difference in total uranium between exposed and unexposed residents, suggesting that total uranium alone is not a reliable indicator of exposure to depleted uranium in this
- Ninety four percent of workers tested showed evidence of exposure to depleted uranium, enriched uranium or both, and were still excreting depleted uranium and enriched uranium decades after leaving the workforce.
Health study results on National Lead Inc. Colonie depleted uranium munitions plant site still incomplete:
Preliminary results from a long-sought state Health Department study of workers and neighbors of a former uranium weapons plant don't yet reveal critical information about how many people might have been tainted with the radioactive metal, according to a longtime study advocate.
Last month, Health Department officials unveiled some information on the NL Industries study, under way since September 2012, during a professional conference, said Anne Rabe, a spokesman for Community Concerned about NL Industries.
"These are partial results that really don't tell us much," said Rabe. Based on urine samples from 34 former workers and 97 neighbors, results show total uranium present in each subject's body and include naturally occurring uranium that is present in everyone, she said.
Unreleased so far are test results for so-called depleted uranium, which NL plant workers fashioned into tank shells and military aircraft parts. Enriched uranium used in atomic weapons and fuel rods for nuclear submarines was also handled at the plant.
The state Health Department could not provide comment when asked about study results.
These results show that the former workers had elevated total uranium levels (about 0.012 parts per million) compared to plant neighbors (0.003 ppm) and the U.S. national average (0.007 ppm). A DOH chart released during the conference added that depleted uranium "detected is most likely from exposure to NL."
Also still unfinished is a second state study about NL. Begun in 2011, this study was to examine public health records for residents around the facility from the 1940s to the present. It would cover people who lived within about a 1.2-mile radius of the plant.
(Times Union Sep. 2, 2014)
[Note: the ppm values stand for the geometric mean in micrograms total uranium per gram creatinine in urine]
State to conduct health studies of workers and residents around former National Lead Inc. Colonie depleted uranium munitions plant site:
The state Health Department will conduct its first health studies of workers and residents around the former NL Industries weapons plant in Colonie, the site of an extensive cleanup of radioactive uranium.
One study, to be run by the department's Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, will examine public health records for residents around the Central Avenue facility from the 1940s to the present for evidence of excessive cases of cancers, deaths, hospitalizations and birth defects, spokesman Peter Constantakes said.
A potential second study would examine the possible presence of depleted uranium in urine tests of up to 200 former plant workers and residents, according to state Health Department records obtained by the Times Union. Constantakes cautioned that this study, which is being supported by a grant obtained last year from the federal Centers for Disease Control, is "very preliminary."
Community advocates have been pushing for years for an official study of how radioactive contamination in and around NL may have affected the health of people who worked there or lived nearby.
"This is something that we have been asking for since 1982," said Anne Rabe, chairwoman of Community Concerned About NL Industries. "It is a tragedy that it has taken so long."
(Times Union Apr. 19, 2011, emphasis added)
> View National Lead Industries Biomonitoring Project (NY State Department of Health)
Depleted uranium contamination footprint in soil traced kilometers from former National Lead Inc. Colonie site, Albany, New York
"Uranium oxide particles were dispersed into the environment from a factory in
Colonie (NY, USA) by prevailing winds during the 1960s and '70s. Uranium
concentrations and isotope ratios from bulk soil samples have been accurately
measured using inductively coupled plasma quadrupole mass spectrometry (ICP-QMS)
without the need for analyte separation chemistry. The natural range of uranium
concentrations in the Colonie soils has been estimated as 0.7-2.1 µg/g, with a
weighted geometric mean of 1.05 µg/g; the contaminated soil samples comprise
uranium up to 500±40 µg/g.
A plot of 236U/238U against 235U/238U isotope ratios describes a mixing line between natural uranium and depleted uranium (DU) in bulk soil samples [...]. The end-member of DU compositions aggregated in these bulk samples comprises (2.05±0.06)x10-3 235U/238U, (3.2±0.1)x10-5 236U/238U, and (7.1±0.3)x10-6 234U/238U. The analytical method is sensitive to as little as 50 ng/g DU mixed with the natural uranium occurring in these soils.
The contamination footprint has been mapped northward from site, and at least one third of the uranium in a soil sample from the surface 5 cm, collected 5.1 km NNW of the site, is DU.
Considering this distribution, the total mass of uranium contamination emitted from the factory is estimated to be c. 4.8 tonnes."
The distribution of depleted uranium contamination in Colonie, NY, USA, by Lloyd NS, Chenery SR, Parrish RR, in: Science of the Total Environment, Oct. 21, 2009 (aheadofprint)
Traces of depleted uranium found in urine of former workers and residents at National Lead Colonie site 20 years after exposure
" This study aimed to develop and use a testing procedure capable of detecting an individual's historic milligram-quantity aerosol exposure to DU up to 20 years after the event. This method was applied to individuals associated with or living proximal to a DU munitions plant in Colonie New York that were likely to have had a significant DU aerosol inhalation exposure, in order to improve DU-exposure screening reliability and gain insight into the residence time of DU in humans. We show using sensitive mass spectrometric techniques that when exposure to aerosol has been unambiguous and in sufficient quantity, urinary excretion of DU can be detected more than 20 years after primary DU inhalation contamination ceased, even when DU constitutes only ~ 1% of the total excreted uranium."
Depleted uranium contamination by inhalation exposure and its detection after ~ 20 years: Implications for human health assessment, by Randall R. Parrish, Matthew Horstwood, John G. Arnason, et al., in: Science of The Total Environment, January 2008 (article in press, available online 31 October 2007)
> View University at Albany release Dec. 5, 2007
> Download full paper for free (953k PDF - University at Albany)
Contaminated material being removed from former National Lead Colonie site
Secure train cars started hauling away the remaining 8,000 cubic yards [6,100 cubic metres] of tainted soil. The entire pile is expected to be moved to disposal facilities in the western United States by the end of August 2007.
(Times Union May 30, 2007)
More uranium-tainted soil found at former National Lead Colonie facility
Workers have uncovered more radioactively contaminated soil beneath a defunct Central Avenue munitions plant than expected, a discovery that could end hopes of completing the main cleanup at the old National Lead site by September 2006, officials said.
(Times Union Apr. 25, 2006)
The discovery this spring of more radioactive soil beneath a defunct Central Avenue munitions plant has created a funding gap that will force federal officials to keep the soil on site until money becomes available to ship it away.
The result is that a plan neighbors once fought, long-term storage of contaminated soil on site, likely will become reality at least until officials come up with more money.
(Times Union June 15, 2006)
Further delay for cleanup of former National Lead Colonie facility
It will require another two years to free the National Lead Industries site on Central Avenue in Colonie of contamination before the U.S. Department of Energy can turn it over to local government.
With the new findings of lead contamination under the building footprint, more soil must be removed to make the area free from any peril to human or animal life that may arise when the land is used for development.
It has been 20 years and $150 million since the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program has been in force to remove all dangers of radioactive uranium and other toxic substances that were embedded in the soil at the site and surrounding areas.
(Times Union Dec. 26, 2004)
Further increase of cleanup cost for former National Lead Colonie facility
Decontaminating the former National Lead Industry site will cost another $10 million and take an additional year, after engineers found almost twice the contamination they expected under the plant's foundation. The total cleanup is now estimated to cost $165 million.
(Times Union March 21, 2004)
ATSDR Public Health Consultation confirms past DU hazard at former National Lead Colonie facility
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released a Public Health Consultation on the former National Lead (NL) Colonie facility in Albany, New York.
"After evaluating the environmental data, ATSDR concluded that past DU emissions from the plant were a public health hazard and may possibly have increased the risk of kidney disease and lung cancer, particularly for smokers who had lived near the plant. The extent to which risk was increased, however, is unknown.
From 1958 to 1984, NL operations used radioactive materials consisting mostly of depleted uranium (DU), although smaller amounts of thorium and enriched uranium were also used between 1960 and 1972. Operations reduced depleted uranium tetrafluoride to depleted uranium metal which was then made into shielding components, ballast weights, and projectiles.
In 1984 the state shut down the company's operations because of airborne releases of radioactive materials that exceeded court-ordered standards.
The public comment period for the public health consultation has been extended through Nov. 3, 2003.
> View ATSDR releases Aug. 22, 2003 · Sep. 23, 2003
> Download Public Health Consultation, Aug. 15, 2003 (PDF) · Fig. 1 (PDF) · Fig. 2 (PDF)
> View ATSDR Colonie Site Summary (Dec. 24, 2002)
> View DOE EM BEMR 1996: Colonie Site
> View Colonie FUSRAP Site - Remedial Action Project
> Download USACE New York District FUSRAP Colonie Site update (PDF)
NL Industries, Inc.
SEC filings of NL Industries, Inc.
NRC License: SUB-1452
NRC Docket No. 04008866
EPA invites comment on settlement concerning Starmet CMI Barnwell Superfund Site
Federal Register: February 22, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 35) p. 7983 (download full text )
SUMMARY: Under Section 122(g) of the Comprehensive Environmental
Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the United States
Environmental Protection Agency has entered into a settlement for
reimbursement of past response costs with the Alaron Corporation
concerning the Starmet CMI Superfund Site located in Barnwell, Barnwell
County, South Carolina.
DATES: The Agency will consider public comments on the settlement until
March 26, 2007. The Agency will consider all comments received and may
modify or withdraw its consent to the settlement if comments received
disclose facts or considerations which indicate that the settlement is
inappropriate, improper, or inadequate.
> View: Regulations (Docket ID No. EPA-R04-SFUND-2007-0129)
Starmet CMI Inc. appeals shutdown order
Starmet CMI Inc. has appealed a decision by the Department of Health and Environmental Control's board that shutdown the plant. Starmet has asked the court in a petition to reverse the board's decision and reinstate an administrative law judge's ruling that allowed the plant to continue to operate.
(The State Sep. 25, 2002)
S.C. judge overturns order closing plant
On July 1, 2002, a judge overturned the state health department's order that closed a Barnwell County manufacturing plant over a potential uranium leak.
Administrative Law Judge Marvin Kittrell ruled that the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control did not have jurisdiction to force Starmet CMI Inc. to close last week.
Kittrell delayed his order until the agency has a chance to ask him for a temporary injunction to keep Starmet closed. (Charlotte Observer July 2, 2002)
On July 19, 2002, administrative law judge Marvin Kittrell rescinded the emergency shutdown order issued by the state's health and environmental agency.
He ruled that the department did not successfully justify the emergency order.
(Augusta Chronicle July 20, 2002)
State orders emergency shutdown of Starmet uranium processing facility
On June 25, 2002, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control closed down the Barnwell County company Starmet CMI Inc. , evicting most of the 75 employees and installing armed guards.
In an emergency order, the state contends the company has, in the past two years:
The state also contends the company didn't provide enough security for the site, where a component used in military airplane wings and classified products are made. Until recent years, Starmet made tank penetrators, said the company's attorney, Bill Short of Columbia.
- Repeatedly violated state environmental laws and regulations.
- Improperly stored almost 8,000 metric tons of low-level radioactive waste on site. Some drums leaked waste; some others were left sitting open, the state found.
- Contaminated the soil, air and groundwater with radioactive and hazardous waste.
The state contends in its order that Starmet, which has filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code, doesn't have the assets to adequately address the problems.
Its sister company, Starmet NMI Inc. in Concord, Mass., is now a Superfund site, meaning the government has placed a priority on cleaning it up.
(Charlotte Observer June 27, 2002)
NRC License: SMB-179
NRC Docket No. 04000672
> See also: CREW (Citizens Research and Environmental Watch)
> View EPA Region 1 NMI Concord Superfund page
Temporary groundwater cleanup system operating at former Nuclear Metals DU munitions facility site in Concord, depleted uranium cleanup still waiting
Elaine Stanley, EPA project manager of the 2229 Main St. in West Concord, said the EPA accelerated the $5 million cleanup of 1,4-dioxane, because a plume traveled under the Assabet River from 2229 Main St, and moved toward a well field for Acton's public water supply.
According to Stanley, an extraction well starting pumping out the contaminated water at Acton Water District property at 16 Knox Trail May 23, in order to prevent the plume from reaching the Assabet 1A supply well, one source of Acton's drinking water. The water is being treated before being discharged into the Assabet River, according to the EPA.
According to the EPA, the extraction well and discharge into the Assabet River is a temporary system. Stanley said the system is treating the 1,4-dioxane, but "not to the degree of what we want."
Stanley said the EPA is currently evaluating the best technology to fully treat the 1,4-dioxane, and stated the contaminant is not a threat to Acton's drinking water.
The EPA plans to inject a high-phosphate compound into soil and groundwater at 2229 Main St. to treat depleted uranium, according to Stanley. Cleanup of depleted uranium is part of a $120 million final-stage cleanup at the site.
The work can't begin until a settlement is reached between EPA, Whittaker Corp., Textron Inc., U.S. Army and Department of Justice, according to Stanley.
According to the September 2015 Record of Decision by the EPA, the groundwater phase of the cleanup is expected to take up to two years, followed by monitoring and treatment to achieve water quality standards stated in the ROD, which could take 30 years.
The soil cleanup of depleted uranium is expected to take approximately two years, according to the ROD.
(The Beacon June 2, 2017)
Groundwater cleanup to begin at former Nuclear Metals DU munitions facility site in Concord
Contaminated groundwater at the Nuclear Metals Inc. Superfund site in Concord will be cleaned up under a settlement agreement announced Tuesday (July 12) by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
The cleanup, including EPA oversight, is estimated to cost $5.7 million and will be largely financed by federal government responsible parties.
The site includes 46.4 acres at 2229 Main Street in Concord and surrounding areas where groundwater contamination has migrated, the EPA said.
From 1958 to 1985, wastes contaminated with depleted uranium, copper, and nitric acid were disposed into an unlined holding basin at the site. Volatile organic compounds, which likely contained 1,4-dioxane as a stabilizer, were used as solvents and degreasers for cleaning of machines and products. They were discharged through floor drains to an on-site cooling water pond, resulting in contamination of an on-site supply well.
Sampling during the late stages of the site investigation determined that a 1,4-dioxane plume at the site was migrating, the EPA said. This early action will prevent migration to a well field for Acton's public water supply.
(Boston Globe July 12, 2016)
EPA finalizes cleanup plan for the Nuclear Metals DU munitions facility site in Concord
On Oct. 1, 2015, EPA announced that it has completed the "Record of Decision" (ROD) for the Nuclear Metals, Inc. Superfund Site, located in Concord, Mass. The ROD outlines a detailed plan for cleaning up contaminated soil, sediment and groundwater at the Site.
The ROD generally includes the following components:
> Download Record of Decision, Nuclear Metals, Inc. Superfund Site , September 2015 (18.8 MB PDF - EPA Region 1)
- Excavation and off-site disposal of approximately 82,500 cubic yards of contaminated materials.
- In-Situ stabilization of depleted uranium contaminated soils in the Holding Basin using apatite injection.
- Extraction and ex-situ treatment of groundwater for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and 1,4-dioxane.
- In-situ treatment of depleted uranium and natural uranium in groundwater.
- Long-term monitoring to monitor the effectiveness of in- and ex-situ treatment.
- Institutional Controls to prevent disturbance of the Holding Basin area, prevent the use of Site groundwater, and address potential vapor intrusion risks.
EPA invites comment on proposed cleanup plan for former Starmet / Nuclear Metals DU munitions facility site in Concord
EPA has released for public review and comment a proposed cleanup plan for the Nuclear Metals, Inc. Superfund Site, located in Concord, Mass., to address contaminated soil, sediment and groundwater at the Site which generally includes:
Submit comments by December 15, 2014.
- Excavation and off-site disposal of approximately 82,500 cubic yards of contaminated sediments, and non-Holding Basin soils located throughout the site;
- In-Situ stablization of DU contaminated soils in the Holding Basin using Apatite II injection, encapsulation of the Holding Basin using a vertical barrier wall and sub-grade cover, and filling the Holding Basin with clean soil to grade;
- Ex-situ treatment of VOCs and 1,4 dioxane in overburden and bedrock groundwater;
- In-Situ treatment of DU and natural uranium in overburden and bedrock groundwater, respectively, using Apatite and/or Zero-Valent Iron; and
- Long-term monitoring of groundwater and institutional controls to 1) restrict excavations in the Holding Basin Area; 2) prohibit use of contaminated groundwater until cleanup levels are met; and 3) require evaluation of vapor intrusion risks and, if necessary, installation of vapor mitigation systems should future structures be built above the VOC plume before cleanup levels are met.
> Download Proposed Plan for the Nuclear Metals Superfund Site , Oct. 2014 (EPA Region 1)
Settlement agreement assures additional funding for cleanup at former Starmet / Nuclear Metals DU munitions facility site in Concord
A financial settlement agreement is now in place to pay for additional hazardous waste cleanup and the demolition of contaminated buildings at the Starmet Corp. site on Main Street in Concord.
The administrative settlement agreement between the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Army, the US Department of Energy, Textron, Inc. and Whittaker Corporation outlines the responsibilities for $70 million to clean up what's known as the Nuclear Metals Inc. Superfund site.
(Boston Globe Jul. 7, 2011)
Massachusetts Attorney General files complaint against Starmet for failure to vacate former DU munitions facility site in Concord
On Feb. 3, 2009, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office filed a complaint in Suffolk Superior Court against a Concord company that formerly manufactured specialized metals, including depleted uranium munitions, and is licensed to possess radioactive substances. The complaint filed alleges Starmet Corporation violated a 2007 Administrative Consent Order it reached with the state Department of Public Health requiring Starmet to permanently vacate the Superfund site it occupies at 2229 Main St. on or before Oct. 31, 2007. The complaint filed today seeks a permanent injunction ordering Starmet to vacate the Concord site at 2229 Main St. by June 31 [?!?], 2009.
(The Concord Journal Feb. 4, 2009)
EPA orders demolition of former Starmet / Nuclear Metals DU munitions facility in Concord, Mass.
The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the demolition of a Concord facility that once made munitions tipped with depleted uranium for the Army.
Starmet/Nuclear Metals was declared a federal Superfund site in 2001. The EPA says demolition of the buildings was determined to be the most effective of several cleanup options for the site, and will prevent the release of depleted uranium or other hazardous materials into the environment.
Contents of the buildings will be removed prior to demolition and concrete slabs will remain in place to prevent any potentially-contaminated soil from being disturbed.
The estimated cost of the cleanup is $63.9 million.
Starmet made the depleted uranium munitions from the 1970s to 1999, but no longer manufactures products with radioactive material.
(Boston Herald September 25, 2008)
> View EPA Region 1 news release Sep. 25, 2008
Starmet Corp. may face penalties for staying at Concord Superfund site
The company that owns a 46-acre Superfund site in Concord has violated its agreement with the state to leave the contaminated property, and could face legal action within the next few weeks, a state public health official said.
Suzanne Condon, director of the Department of Public Health's bureau of environmental health , said Starmet Corp. had agreed to vacate its facilities on Main Street last fall. But the company has not moved and now faces penalties and strict enforcement action, she said.
"They have clearly now violated the agreement and we have to call for an administrative hearing citing them for violation of the agreement. Then the attorney general can take much stronger enforcement action," she said last week.
(Boston Globe May 25, 2008)
EPA urges demolition of Nuclear Metals/Starmet buildings in Concord
Federal environmental officials are recommending that all buildings at the Starmet Corp. hazardous waste site in Concord be demolished because they are highly contaminated and could pose a safety threat.
The buildings are contaminated inside and out with depleted uranium, a radioactive and toxic material, and other hazardous substances, the officials say. Demolishing and disposing of the waste would cost an estimated $64 million.
"Should these buildings remain in place, there is a significant risk of fire or roof collapse," Melissa Taylor, project manager for the Environmental Protection Agency, said last week. "There could be a potential release of hazardous material."
(Boston Globe May 15, 2008)
> View EPA Region 1 NMI Site information page
The public comment period on EPA's cleanup options runs until June 4, 2008.
EPA removes hazardous substances from Nuclear Metals, Inc. Superfund site in Concord (Massachusetts)
This week EPA began a "Time Critical Removal Action" at the Nuclear Metals, Inc. Superfund site, in Concord Mass., to remove containers of hazardous substances within the facility that pose a risk of fire or explosion.
EPA has undertaken the action at the request of the Concord Fire Department which expressed concern about the facility's ability to adequately manage combustible and flammable hazardous materials following a June 2007 fire at the site.
(EPA Region 1 release Jan. 10, 2008)
Town Meeting approves Zoning Bylaw change to improve future cleanup of Nuclear Metals/Starmet Superfund Site
On April 25, 2007, Concord's 2007 Annual Town Meeting voted by an overwhelming majority to change the Concord Zoning Bylaw by permitting residential development on the 46 acre Nuclear Metals/Starmet Superfund Site. This change makes it more likely that the Environmental Protection Agency will use residential standards in designing the cleanup of the property. A residential cleanup leaves the least amount of radioactive and toxic material at the site, and will result in the least health risk from contamination to future generations living in Concord.
Removal of radioactive material and depleted uranium barrels from Starmet Superfund site
On Oct. 4, 2005, removal of radioactive material and depleted uranium barrels from the Starmet Superfund site has begun.
For a reported $8 million, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) contracted Envirocare of Utah to load up trucks and remove the contaminants from the town and the state.
At two truck loads per day, contaminant removal is slated to take between four and six months, according to MassDEP. During that time, 3,800 barrels of low level radioactive material, and 317 tons of depleted uranium will be removed and shipped via truck to a nuclear repository in Clive, Utah.
(Metro West Daily News Oct. 7, 2005)
This work was completed on Feb. 27, 2006, by a subcontractor of Envirocare of Utah Inc., state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Joseph Ferson said. He added that the cost of removing and trucking the material to Utah for disposal "is a little more than $8 million."
(Boston Globe March 9, 2006)
Investigation of Starmet Superfund site might begin in September 2004 - Removal of DU barrels delayed
A plan to explore the range of contaminants on the Starmet Corp. Superfund site in West Concord is expected to be approved next month. If that happens, then the first phase of the investigative work will get underway in September, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Also in September, the state Department of Environmental Protection is planning to solicit proposals for the removal of more than 3,700 barrels of depleted uranium that are now being stored in Starmet buildings. A contractor is likely to be selected in November, said department spokesman Joseph Ferson, adding that the project probably will get started next January.
(Boston Globe July 18, 2004)
> See also: Nuclear Metals, Inc. Superfund Site (de maximis, inc., Geosyntec Consultants, Mactec, Gradient Corp.)
U.S. Army agrees to pay for removal of depleted uranium from Starmet Concord site
The U.S. Army has agreed to pay for the removal and disposal of more than 3,700 barrels of depleted uranium from the Starmet facility in Concord, a Superfund site.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will select a hazardous materials packaging and transportation contractor and the removal process is expected to begin in three to four months. The process, which will be supervised by DEP staff, could take between four and six months.
(Boston Globe April 2, 2004)
> See also Mass. DEP release April 2, 2004
EPA to begin temporary cleanup at Superfund site in Concord
Federal environmental officials are beginning a $500,000 ''temporary cleanup'' of a Concord Superfund site.
The Environmental Protection Agency will install a permanent fence around the ''old landfill'' portion of the 46-acre Starmet Corp. site, install temporary covers over the old landfill and a holding basin, and provide security if needed.
According to the EPA, the holding basin and groundwater at the site have been contaminated with depleted uranium, volatile organic compounds and other toxic metals, including beryllium.
(AP Apr. 29, 2002)
3,800 barrels containing about 1800 metric tonnes of of depleted uranium and its byproducts are stuck in Concord, Mass., because the company that produced the waste is nearly bankrupt. The state attorney general's office filed a lawsuit to force Starmet Corp. to dispose of the waste. Starmet used the metal to make tank-piercing weapons until 1999. (Boston Globe Feb. 1, 2002)
On June 14, 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency added 10 new hazardous waste sites to the National Priorities List (NPL), including the Nuclear Metals, Inc. site in Concord, Mass.
Nuclear Metals, Inc. produced depleted uranium products, primarily as penetrators for armor piercing ammunition. They also manufactured metal powders for medical applications, photocopiers, and speciality metal products, such as beryllium tubing used in the aerospace industry.
EPA Superfund Sites ·
Nuclear Metals, Inc. Concord, Mass. Site Narrative
EPA New England NMI Fact Sheet
Federal Register Notice June 14, 2001
Support Document for the Revised National Priorities List Final Rule - June 2001 (630k PDF)
The Cerro Grande Fire, combined with repeated freezing and thawing over the winter, put more depleted uranium in the air around Los Alamos, according to a lab scientist, but those levels are generally minuscule and expected to fall.
Craig Eberhart, leader of the lab's environmental air monitoring program, presented the information at a regular meeting of the Community Radiation Monitoring Group in Santa Fe.
According to Eberhart's research, the lab picked up depleted uranium above background levels of natural uranium at 13 of its 55 air monitoring stations in the first quarter of 2001. Most of those were on lab property. A few were in White Rock and Los Alamos.
In the second quarter, five stations picked up such amounts. That compares to just two stations reporting depleted uranium levels above background in the last two quarters of 2000.
Still, the pollution detected at the stations was very small - far below any government safety limit - and Eberhart said there's nothing dangerous about the air pollution.
"We do have a small, but detectable impact on the public," he said.
(Albuquerque Journal, November 29, 2001)
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has proposed a $17,600 fine against RMI Environmental Services (now Earthline Technologies), for apparently violating NRC requirements protecting employees from discrimination.
From 1962 until 1988, the company fabricated uranium metal products for the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, and other commercial clients. The facility is now being decontaminated and decommissioned.
An NRC investigation found that an RMI radiation protection technician was placed on involuntary leave after he raised safety concerns about the handling of a radioactively contaminated pipe and other radiation protection issues. The NRC cited RMI for discriminating against the employee who had raised safety concerns and proposed the $17,600 fine. (ENS Sep 27, 2001)
Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty - $17,600, EA-99-290/EA-01-037, September 24, 2001
ORDER IMPOSING CIVIL MONETARY PENALTY - $17,600, January 4, 2002
NRC License No. SUB-1564
NRC Docket No. 04009029
Unplanned fire and explosion of a depleted uranium armor package
On January 9, 2007, General Dynamics provided a written notification of an unplanned fire and explosion of a depleted uranium armor package at its Lima, Ohio facility. (NRC acknowledgement letter Feb. 2, 2007)
British defence worker loses legal action over alleged DU poisoning
A former defence worker who claimed that his life was made a "living hell" by exposure to depleted uranium at a factory has lost his High Court action.
Richard David, 51, of Seaton, Devon, sued Normalair Garrett - now owned by Honeywell Aerospace - for compensation.
The company denied depleted uranium was ever used at the plant in Yeovil.
Mr Justice Walker sitting in London said that Mr David had not shown that he was exposed to depleted uranium at the time he was employed by the firm.
(BBC March 2, 2006)
British defence worker wins legal aid over alleged DU poisoning
A former British defence worker has won legal aid to sue US military corporation Honeywell over claims that he was poisoned by depleted uranium while working at its Somerset factory.
Richard 'Nibby' David, 49, suffers from serious respiratory problems, kidney defects and finds it extremely painful to move his limbs. Medical tests have revealed mutations to his DNA and damage to his chromosomes which he alleges has been caused by depleted uranium poisoning (DU).
The decision was a major victory after an eight-year struggle for justice after ill health forced him to give up his job in 1995 as a component fitter for Normalair Garrett, the Yeovil firm now owned by Honeywell, which makes parts for most of the world's fighter planes and bombers.
Honeywell has declined to comment on details of the case, but will claim it never used DU at Yeovil. However, it is known that another aerospace group, Westland, which shared the Somerset site, has admitted using DU from 1966 until 1982 as counterweights for helicopter blades. David also claims Honeywell used special heavy metal alloys for making components which he believes may have contained DU.
(Observer July 11, 2004)
The facility of Société Industrielle de Combustible Nucléaire (SICN) at Annecy (Haute-Savoie, France) is specialized in uranium metallurgy and manufacturing. It has manufactured, among others, depleted uranium penetrators for Leclerc tanks (120 mm) and MX30 tanks (105 mm). SICN is 100% owned by COGEMA .
Monitoring data gathered by SICN in 2000 has been released by the Direction Régionale de l'Industrie, de la Recherche et de l'Environnement (DRIRE) to the radiation monitoring group CRIIRAD . The groundwater data shows elevated concentrations of uranium of 55 and 46.5 micrograms per litre.
> View CRII Rad report (Sep 2001, in French)