Huntington and Portsmouth: Overlapping Metals

Updated 5 years ago by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
Huntington and Portsmouth: Overlapping  Metals
DOE PHOTO

What did Huntington have in common with Portsmouth, Ohio, Paducah, Ky., and Oak Ridge, Tennessee? During the 50s and early 60s a Huntington plant operated by the Atomic Energy Commission supplied materials and recycled materials from the gaseous diffusion plants.

No Atomic Workers Part B or Part E claims were paid for West Virginia's Huntington Plant in July. 17. Eighteen Part B claims were paid in Ohio and Six in Kentucky. According to the Department of Labor, $26 million dollar in claims have been paid for the Huntington plant.

http://www.dol.gov/owcp/energy/regs/compliance/statistics/WebPages%5CWEST_VIRGINIA.htm

The Huntington Reduction Pilot Plant (a.k.a. Huntington Pilot Plant) was dismantled in 1978-79 by Cleveland Wrecking after sitting on the International Nickel campus from 1962-1978 on standby.

Certain employees at all four plants (and former facility) are eligible for federal nuclear workers compensation benefits.

Capping Hazardous Landfill at Portsmouth
Capping Hazardous Landfill at Portsmouth
DOE PHOTO

Historically, in March 1978 the rupture of a 14-ton cylinder of liquid uranium hexafluoride that was dropped at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion plant release 21.25 pounds of radioactive toxic uranium hexafluouride.

The highest Portsmouth offsite exposure to uranium came on Nov. 17, 1960 when a cylinder ruptured. According to our modeling of this accident, an estimated uranium inhaled dose of 1.5 rems (0.015 sieverts) could have been received by the maximally exposed resident southeast of the site. Therefore, the uranium isotopes were selected as contaminants of concern for the air exposure pathway.

Huntington and Portsmouth: Overlapping  Metals
DOE PHOTO

Historically, demolition of the HPP/RPP began in 1978. At least some of the wreckage and items from inside the structure were buried in trenches in a classified landfill in Piketon, Ohio with guards holding machine guns observing the entombment, the actual activities --- though not the metals and radioactives --- presumably have stayed partly classified.

Thus, the HPP/RPP cannot be fairly compared to PGDP, although the soil breaching of materials from the classified burial section has potential WV interest.

It should be noted that for whatever reason, since the U.S. Enrichment Corp. took over the process facilities at  Portsmouth plant in 1993, DOE has not reported process release information or off-site air monitoring data. (ATSDR/CDC,  http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/hac/pha/pha.asp?docid=792&pg=3#envirc2.6 ),

In addition, the study concluded levels were below cancer risk, assuming that no “major accidents” occurred.

Huntington and Portsmouth: Overlapping  Metals
DOE PHOTO

(The risk for such chemicals as nickel carbonyl has not been studied by ASTOR/CDC, per footnote.)

One caution --- the evaluation of Portsmouth risks do not calculate surface water contamination. Why? The water surrounding PGDP is not used for DRINKING purposes. Per the CDC/ASTOR:

Leaking process lines have resulted in releases of trichloroethylene (TCE) to a shallow alluvial aquifer. These process lines have been out of service since the late 1980s, when PORTS discontinued the bulk use of TCE. This contamination has not migrated off-site and has not affected nor ever been detected in private or public drinking water. However, the aquifier has become contaminated. The Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) set by EPA are exceeded when standards for public drinking water for more than 20 households are applied. Site manages installed a pump and threat facility for removal of TCE prior to reaching Beaver Creek.

The final historic footnote, in 1978, the EPA guidelines for PCB use and waste containment took effect., including the Toxic Substances Control Act, which impacted the three gaseous diffusion plants.  When constructed in the 1940s and

1950s, the ventilation duct seams at the facilities were sealed using gaskets impregnated with PCBs in excess of 500 ppm. PCBs in excess Of 50 ppm have also been detected in some of the lubrication oils used in motor and compressor bearings. Lubrication oils are drawn into the motor exhaust system, saturate the gasket material and leach PCBs from the gaskets onto building floors.

At that time, radioactive  and co-contaminated wastes were to be disposed in an EPA approved operating incinerator or other approved disposal method.

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/pha/pha.asp?docid=658&pg=1

http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/em/2001_Agreements/Paducah_TSCA.pdf

http://www.sem.dol.gov/expanded/SiteProc2.cfm

HPP, SITE EXPOSURE MATRIX, METAL POWDER PRODUCTION

Hazardous Chemicals Associated:

Carbon monoxide CAS: 630-08-0   Aliases: Carbonic oxide; Exhaust gas; Flue gas; Carbon monoxide in air; 14CO; C-14 labeled carbon monoxide; Carbon monoxide labeled with C-14; CO  Category: Gases 

Review details for this chemical, Hydrogen CAS: 1333-74-0 Aliases: Protium; H; H2  Category: Gases 

Review details for this chemical, Iron III oxide           Iron III oxide   CAS: 1309-37-1; 1317-60-8   Aliases: Iron (III) oxide; Ferric oxide; Hematite; Iron trioxide; Ferric trioxide; Red ferric oxide; Iron sesquioxide; Iron oxide; Red iron oxide; Crocus Cloth; Fe2O3  Category: Other Materials 

Review details for this chemical, Neptunium             Neptunium   CAS: 7439-99-8   Aliases: Neptunium-237; Neptunium 237; Neptunium-239; Neptunium 239; Transuranic; Np  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances 

Review details for this chemical, Nickel           Nickel   CAS: 7440-02-0   Aliases: Nickel fumes; nickel dust; nickel powder; Raney nickel; Raney alloy; Electroless nickel; L Nickel; Ni-63; Ni 63; Nickel felt; Ni  Category: Metals 

Review details for this chemical, Nickel carbonyl     Nickel carbonyl   CAS: 13463-39-3   Aliases: Nickel tetracarbonyl; Tetracarbonyl nickel; Carbonyl nickel; Ni(CO)4; NiC4O4  Category: Other Materials 

Review details for this chemical, Nickel II oxide        Nickel II oxide   CAS: 1313-99-1   Aliases: Nickel (II) oxide; Nickelous oxide; Nickel monoxide; NiO  Category: Other Materials 

Review details for this chemical, Plutonium  Plutonium   CAS: 7440-07-5   Aliases: Plutonium-238; Plutonium 238; Plutonium-239; Plutonium 239; Plutonium-240; Plutonium 240; Plutonium-241; Plutonium 241; Plutonium-242; Plutonium 242; Plutonium-244; Plutonium 244; Pu-238; Pu 238; Pu-239; Pu 239; Pu-240; Pu 240; Pu-241; Pu 241; Pu-242; Pu 242; Pu-244; Pu 244; Transuranic; Pu; Product  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances 

Review details for this chemical, Thorium      Thorium   CAS: 7440-29-1   Aliases: Thorium-228; Thorium 228; Th-228; Th 228; Thorium-229; Thorium 229; Th-229; Th 229; Th-229 tracer; Th 229 tracer; Thorium-230; Thorium 230; Th-230; Th 230; Ionium; Thorium-232; Thorium 232; Th-232; Th 232; Thorium-234; Thorium 234; Th-234; Th 234; Th  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances 

Review details for this chemical, Uranium      Uranium   CAS: 7440-61-1   Aliases: U-232 tracer; U 232 tracer; Uranium-233; Uranium 233; Uranium-234; Uranium 234; Uranium-235; Uranium 235; Uranium-236; Uranium 236; Uranium-238; Uranium 238; The metal; EU (enriched); Oralloy (enriched); Tuballoy (natural); D-38 (depleted); D 38 (depleted); Staballoy (depleted); Depleted uranium; Tube alloy; Q metal; U; U-232; U 232; U-233; U 233; U-234; U 234; U-235; U 235; U-236; U 236; U-238; U 238  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances 

BUILDINGS IN WHICH THIS PROCESS/ACTIVITY OCCURRED        

Review details about this building, Main Process Building             Main Process Building  Aliases: Process Building

LABOR CATEGORIES PERFORMING THIS PROCESS/ACTIVITY   

Review details about this labor category, Operator            Operator

 PORTSMOUTH HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS FROM URANIUM RECOVERY, RECYCLING and MAINTENANCE

  Aluminum nitrate   CAS: 13473-90-0; 7784-27-2   Aliases: Aluminum nitrate nonahydrate; ANN; Al(NO3)3; Al(NO3)3.9H2O  Category: Other Materials  
Review details for this chemical, Aluminum oxide  Aluminum oxide   CAS: 1344-28-1   Aliases: Alumina; Fused alumina; Alumina, fused; Activated alumina; Dialuminum trioxide; Alundum; alpha-Alumina; Alumina oxide; Aluminum trioxide; gamma-Alumina; Levigated alumina; Levigated aluminum oxide; Alumina polishing powder; Boileezers; Corundum; Alundum Lapping Compound; Micropolish B (0.05 mu gamma-Al2O3); Al2O3  Category: Other Materials  
Review details for this chemical, Cadmium  Cadmium   CAS: 7440-43-9   Aliases: Colloidal cadmium; Cadmium Column; Cadmium Column Repack; Cd   Category: Metals  
Review details for this chemical, Chromium  Chromium   CAS: 7440-47-3   Aliases: Chromium powder; chromium metal; chrome; Cr  Category: Metals  
Review details for this chemical, Neptunium  Neptunium   CAS: 7439-99-8   Aliases: Neptunium-237; Neptunium 237; Neptunium-239; Neptunium 239; Transuranic; Np  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances  
Review details for this chemical, Nitric acid  Nitric acid   CAS: 7697-37-2   Aliases: Azotic acid; Hydrogen nitrate; Aqua fortia; Engravers acid; Nital; Fuming nitric acid; Red fuming nitric acid; HNO3  Category: Acids/Caustics/Reducing and Oxidizing Agents  
Review details for this chemical, Nitric oxide  Nitric oxide   CAS: 10102-43-9   Aliases: Note: NOx refers to both Nitric oxide and Nitrogen dioxide and therefore appears as an alias in this profile. Mononitrogen monoxide; Nitrogen monoxide; NOx; NO  Category: Gases  
Review details for this chemical, Nitrogen dioxide  Nitrogen dioxide   CAS: 10102-44-0   Aliases: Note: NOx refers to both Nitric oxide and Nitrogen dioxide and therefore appears as an alias in this profile. Azote; Nitrito; Nitrogen peroxide; Nitric dioxide; NOx; NO2  Category: Gases  
Review details for this chemical, Normal paraffin hydrocarbon  Normal paraffin hydrocarbon   CAS: 112-40-3; 629-50-5; 629-59-4; 629-62-9   Aliases: NPH  Category: Solvents  
Review details for this chemical, Plutonium  Plutonium   CAS: 7440-07-5   Aliases: Plutonium-238; Plutonium 238; Plutonium-239; Plutonium 239; Plutonium-240; Plutonium 240; Plutonium-241; Plutonium 241; Plutonium-242; Plutonium 242; Plutonium-244; Plutonium 244; Pu-238; Pu 238; Pu-239; Pu 239; Pu-240; Pu 240; Pu-241; Pu 241; Pu-242; Pu 242; Pu-244; Pu 244; Transuranic; Pu; Product  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances  
Review details for this chemical, Sodium fluoride  Sodium fluoride   CAS: 7681-49-4   Aliases: Dust; Flux; NaF  Category: Other Materials  
Review details for this chemical, Sodium hydroxide  Sodium hydroxide   CAS: 1310-73-2   Aliases: Caustic soda; Lye; Sodium hydrate; Caustic; Bloc-Aid Cleaner; Liquid Bloc-Aid Cleaner; Calcium Buffer Solution; Cuposit Z Copper Plating Solution; NaOH  Category: Acids/Caustics/Reducing and Oxidizing Agents  
Review details for this chemical, Stoddard solvent  Stoddard solvent   CAS: 8052-41-3   Aliases: Dry cleaning safety solvent; Petroleum solvent; Spotting naphtha; Texsolve S; Varsol; Stoddard cleaner; Startex Paint thinner  Category: Solvents  
Review details for this chemical, Technetium  Technetium   CAS: 7440-26-8   Aliases: Technetium-99; Technetium 99; Technetium-99m; Technetium 99m; Tc; Tc-99m; Tc 99m; Tc-99; Tc 99  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances  
Review details for this chemical, Tributyl phosphate  Tributyl phosphate   CAS: 126-73-8   Aliases: TBP; Tributyl ester of phosphoric acid; Tri-n-butyl phosphate; Tri n butyl phosphate; Tri(n-butyl) phosphate; Tri(n-butyl)phosphate; Butylphosphate (tri-n); (C4H9)3PO4  Category: Solvents  
Review details for this chemical, Triuranium octaoxide  Triuranium octaoxide   CAS: 1344-59-8   Aliases: Black powder; Uranium octaoxide; Triuranium octoxide; Uranium oxide-protoxide; Uranous-uranic oxide; Urano-uranic oxide; Uranyl uranate; Black oxide; U3O8  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances  
Review details for this chemical, Uranium  Uranium   CAS: 7440-61-1   Aliases: U-232 tracer; U 232 tracer; Uranium-233; Uranium 233; Uranium-234; Uranium 234; Uranium-235; Uranium 235; Uranium-236; Uranium 236; Uranium-238; Uranium 238; The metal; EU (enriched); Oralloy (enriched); Tuballoy (natural); D-38 (depleted); D 38 (depleted); Staballoy (depleted); Depleted uranium; Tube alloy; Q metal; U; U-232; U 232; U-233; U 233; U-234; U 234; U-235; U 235; U-236; U 236; U-238; U 238  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances  
Review details for this chemical, Uranyl nitrate hexahydrate  Uranyl nitrate hexahydrate   CAS: 13520-83-7   Aliases: Uranylnitrate hexahydrate; Uranyl dinitrate hexahydrate; Bis-(nitrato)dioxouranium hexahydrate; Dinitratodioxouranium hexahydrate; Uranium oxynitrate hexahydrate; Uranium, dinitratodioxo-, hexahydrate; UO2(NO3)2.6H2O  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances  
BUILDINGS IN WHICH THIS PROCESS/ACTIVITY OCCURRED
Review details about this building, X-705  X-705 Name:DECONTAMINATION BLDG

HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS AT PORTSMOUTH

RELATED TO PROCESS SMELTING

HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS POTENTIALLY RELATED TO THIS PROCESS/ACTIVITY
Review details for this chemical, Aluminum  Aluminum   CAS: 7429-90-5   Aliases: Aluminum welding fumes; Aluminum powder; Aluminum foil; Aluminum-26; Aluminum 26; Al-26; Al 26; Al  Category: Metals  
Review details for this chemical, Hydrofluoric acid  Hydrofluoric acid   CAS: 7664-39-3   Aliases: Hydrogen fluoride; Anhydrous hydrogen fluoride; Aqueous hydrogen fluoride; Fluorhydric acid; Fluohydric acid; Hydrofluoride; HF; HF-A  Category: Acids/Caustics/Reducing and Oxidizing Agents  
Review details for this chemical, Neptunium  Neptunium   CAS: 7439-99-8   Aliases: Neptunium-237; Neptunium 237; Neptunium-239; Neptunium 239; Transuranic; Np  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances  
Review details for this chemical, Plutonium  Plutonium   CAS: 7440-07-5   Aliases: Plutonium-238; Plutonium 238; Plutonium-239; Plutonium 239; Plutonium-240; Plutonium 240; Plutonium-241; Plutonium 241; Plutonium-242; Plutonium 242; Plutonium-244; Plutonium 244; Pu-238; Pu 238; Pu-239; Pu 239; Pu-240; Pu 240; Pu-241; Pu 241; Pu-242; Pu 242; Pu-244; Pu 244; Transuranic; Pu; Product  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances  
Review details for this chemical, Triuranium octaoxide  Triuranium octaoxide   CAS: 1344-59-8   Aliases: Black powder; Uranium octaoxide; Triuranium octoxide; Uranium oxide-protoxide; Uranous-uranic oxide; Urano-uranic oxide; Uranyl uranate; Black oxide; U3O8  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances  
Review details for this chemical, Uranium  Uranium   CAS: 7440-61-1   Aliases: U-232 tracer; U 232 tracer; Uranium-233; Uranium 233; Uranium-234; Uranium 234; Uranium-235; Uranium 235; Uranium-236; Uranium 236; Uranium-238; Uranium 238; The metal; EU (enriched); Oralloy (enriched); Tuballoy (natural); D-38 (depleted); D 38 (depleted); Staballoy (depleted); Depleted uranium; Tube alloy; Q metal; U; U-232; U 232; U-233; U 233; U-234; U 234; U-235; U 235; U-236; U 236; U-238; U 238  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances  
Review details for this chemical, Uranium hexafluoride  Uranium hexafluoride   CAS: 7783-81-5   Aliases: Uranium fluoride; Dust; Heavy gas; Process gas; PG; Gas; UF6  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances  
Review details for this chemical, Uranium trioxide  Uranium trioxide   CAS: 1344-58-7   Aliases: Dust; Yellow powder; Yellowcake; Yellow cake; Orange powder; Uranium VI oxide; Uranium (VI) oxide; Uranic oxide; Red uranium oxide; Uranyl oxide; Orange oxide; UO3  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances  
Review details for this chemical, Uranyl fluoride  Uranyl fluoride   CAS: 13536-84-0   Aliases: Uranium oxyfluoride; Difluorodioxouranium; Uranium difluoride dioxide; Uranium fluoride oxide; Uranium oxide fluoride; Uranium, difluorodioxo-; Uranyldifluoride; UO2F2  Category: Radiation and Radioactive Substances  
BUILDINGS IN WHICH THIS PROCESS/ACTIVITY OCCURRED
Review details about this building, X-744G  X-744G Name:Uranium Warehouse  Aliases: Bulk Storage Building

 

Paducah  AND SMELTING

AIRBORNE NICKEL

However, another two plants did have some similar functions and handled some similar metals/chemicals as evidenced by NIOSH/CDC/DOE documents. Huntington recycled material from the gaseous diffusion plants. The most updated determination includes numerous radioisotopes.

As a for instance, the PGDP operated smelters to recycle scrap materials. The CDC/ASTOR analysis concluded that the Paducah exposures on site and off (by air) were well below the levels for cancer risk and health concerns. (SEE: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/hac/pha/pha.asp?docid=792&pg=12#appi  )

One question asked by residents near  was:)

I read the recently released Health Consultation titled Exposure Assessment of Airborne Nickel and other Metal Particulates from Historic Smelter Operations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and have the following observations and recommendations for your review,    

Comment: During the referenced time frame (1962-19 the PGDP did operate smelters in theC-746A building for recycling materials but most of the scrap was processed to destroy or disguise the classified nature of the scrap. Another smelter operated in t986), the C-340 complex to produce uranium alloys for use by the DOD and AEC. Though it is presented as a total review of smelting operations at the PGDP I found no mention of the uranium smelter in the document. The processing of other materials is very important since some materials handled in these units was far more dangerous (e.g.organics, beryllium components and uranium) and the cumulative problem presented by all operations must be studied and quantified. Were conditions "beyond the fence" terribly bad? I don't know but I had hoped that those with the expertise to evaluate the situation would be given all available information by the DOE.

ATSDR Response: This consultation specifically addresses releases from the C-746Asmelters. Appropriate revisions have been made to clarify the purpose of the health consultation. Releases from uranium metal operations at the C-340 complex were evaluatedas part of total uranium releases from the entire PGDP facility and are included in the PGDP Public Health Assessment.

As you have indicated there was a uranium metal production operation in building C-340.1985 annual uranium emissions from the C-340 operations are provided in Table 1 of the1985 Environmental Monitoring Report [14]. Annual emission values for U234, U235, andU238 are 7.1E-6, 3.3E-7, 2.6E-5 Ci/yr, respectively. As these values are all at least 10,000times lower than the emissions from other previously evaluated sources (C-310 stack, C-400group, seal/wet air exhaust, C-710 laboratory) for earlier years (1956-59), they do not comprise a significant additional source of radionuclide emissions (see Table E-1 in Appendix E for uranium values evaluated for specific release years). For example, the previously evaluated 1956 annual releases included 1.6 Ci/yr for U234, 0.08 Ci/yr forU235, and 3.5 Ci/yr for U238.

As the much higher 1956 releases did not result in off-site exposures of public health concern, the measured 1985 emissions from uranium metal production in C-340 are below levels of public health concern. We will make appropriate revisions in the Public Health Assessment document to ensure that potential releases from C-340 uranium operations are explicitly referenced even though such emissions do not constitute a significant source.

    Activities of radiological contaminants…from nickel samples [2] are used to determine the quantity of radionuclides released during nickel smelting".

Comment: Using the level of radioactive materials in the nickel ingots is completely invalid. If this was information provided by DOE then I am deeply saddened and insulted as member of the public. It was demonstrated in lab tests conducted before the  major melting campaigns began that radioactive materials were highly concentrated at the top of the melt (subjecting it to greater release than from the body of the melt) and subsequently removed as slag. The highly radioactive nature ofthe slag was the subject of internal documents and safety guidance. At a minimum the worst-case concentration should be used to see if there might have been a problem(perhaps modeling the elevated concentrations in the slag might show there were no problems at all).

The odd thing about some of the slag was it's tendency to roll onto the surface of the melt in the form of golf ball sized spheres which were sometimes kept as souvenirs on worker's desk. A more accurate estimation of releases could be made by having the sespheres tested (they are still around, no pun intended) or better still performing amass balance (drums of flakes were weighed and sampled before and ingots were tested after they were cast so total material lost could be estimated). [redacted name]in the C-710 building closely studied distribution of materials within the melting process and his documents detail his findings (a search of the database using his name as the author should kick out some good information, e.g. K/TL 338-339-443 and K/PS230). If nothing is easily available I could provide some of the analytical resuted from the testing done.

ATSDR Response: The Comment or is correct that radionuclide concentrations in the nickel buttons underestimate the total radionuclide concentration of the feed material due to segregation in the slag and nickel ingots. However, as stated in the above response to item 1,radionuclide stack emissions were also directly measured. Annual emissions from the C-746A stack are reported for the calender year 1985 [14]. As these values are all at least five orders of magnitude lower than the emissions from other previously evaluated sources for earlier years (1956-59), they do not comprise a significant additional source of radionuclide emissions (see Table E-1 in Appendix E for uranium values evaluated for specific release years).

 

 

 

 

 

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