Piketon Cleanup and Contaminated Remains of Huntington Plant

Updated 4 years ago Edited by Tony Rutherford from Multiple Reports
Former Huntington Pilot Plant 1952-1979
Former Huntington Pilot Plant 1952-1979
File Photo

A  remedial plan for decontamination and decommissioning of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, includes potential unearthing and reburial of the contaminated Huntington Pilot Plant (Reduction Pilot Plant a.k.a. Nickel Powder Processing Plant) that arrived by truck from the INCO facility in Huntington, WV and in 1978-1979 was buried in a classified landfill on the PGDP property.

Waste cell construction has been approved for the full PGDP site. Although a large percentage of contaminated materials will be disposed as waste on site in a cell that is to be monitored for 1,000 years, certain hazardous wastes will be transferred to an appropriate DOE radioactive material disposal facility outside of the State of Ohio.

During a hearing, Chip Lawson, a former worker at the PGDP, asked about the hazards of digging up and reburial of the remains that originated in Huntington, WV. Following Lawson's remarks, the Department of Energy provides an answer that states testing will occur to determine the disposal of the contaminated HPP/RPP buried remains.

SOURCE: Record of Decision June 2015 for the Site-Wide Waste Disposition Evaluation Project at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, Piketon, Ohio.

DOWNLOAD PDF (nearly 400 pages), The ROD is available online: http://epa.ohio.gov/Portals/47/PPPO-03-3018616-15 Final ROD for the WD Evaluation Project at PORTS.pdf

MR LAWSON:(3-19)

Right now, I do not trust DOE, and there's actual reasons for that. I was an OSHA certified investigator. DOE allowed them to destroy all our health – our radiation records. They allowed them to put them through a wood chipper, which allowed just about an 80 percent turn-down rate on the so-called reconstruction on what our dose records were. I saw the records before they were thrown through the wood chipper. They were nice enough to send me to school to learn how to read these. And the guards ourselves – I can't speak for Herman's people. But we were receiving anywhere from 6.2 to 12 rem a year. That's a fact that I will stand on.

The records got put through a wood chipper. That's why we have such a high cancer rate with the guard department, and it's one reason we have such a low – an 80 percent turn-down rate. Because now with what's being done and how it's being done, we cannot meet the 50 percent causation.   One of my questions – I would like to ask a question that I did not ask in Q&A. When the pilot plant, part of the pilot plant that is buried on plant site, DOE sent nickel materials there to be resmelted and the plant became contaminated. We were not informed that this was contaminated material and people got sick. Now they have people sick that cannot get their benefits. Part of that plant is built – is buried on this facility at Piketon. Part of it is buried over in West Virginia. That happened because DOE, and you' re wanting us to trust you, sent material there and did not inform them that this material was radioactive when they started smelting it back down to get the nickel and stuff. So now, what's left over there on the West Virginia side, they are paying $250,000 a year to an EPA fine (Editor's Note: In conveying the statement Lawson misused the word "fine," instead, the adverse consequences likely relates to leachate  costs for treatment of contaminated runoff ) because of the runoff of contamination that's coming out of there. My question that I would like to get an answer to eventually is, what's going to happen? Is that pilot plant that's buried here, is that going to be razed and that gotten rid of?




* The response addresses the buried contaminated portions at the PGDP landfill, not any remains of the plant that in 1979 were determined safe for burial elsewhere.


DOE assumes the plant referred to in the comment is the Nickel Powder Processing Plant. Part of this plant was disposed in the X-749A classified landfill in 1979 (source:Quadrant I Cleanup Alternatives Study/Correctives Measures Study Final Report for Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, Piketon, Ohio, DOE/OR/12-1248&D6).

As part of the selected remedy, the X-749A landfill is being considered to be excavated to obtain fill soil for operating the On-Site Disposal Cell (OSDC). During excavation, waste removed from the X-749A landfill that meets the waste acceptance criteria (WAC) for the OSDC will be disposed there.

Waste from the X-749A landfill that does not meet the OSDC WAC will be shipped to an appropriately licensed off-Site disposal facility. Safety and environmental controls will be established during the excavation of the landfill and operation of the OSDC to protect workers, the public, and the environment. If a different fill strategy is chosen and the landfill remains in place, the buried material will safely remain in place under a state-approved cap which is compliant with regulations and the final approved remedy.


Consolidation of existing landfills: DOE has had multiple meetings and discussions with local stakeholders regarding its commitm ent to removing the existing landfills. It is important to understand that these landfills all have final remedies in place, previously selected by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA), that are protective of human health and the environment. Due to the regulatory situation, DOE cannot make a commitment to excavate the landfills in this ROD,
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