Huntington Uranium, Nickel Carbonyl Recycling Plant Reported "Incidents" to Regulators; Workers Wore Radiation Readers

Updated 6 years ago by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
Huntington Uranium, Nickel Carbonyl  Recycling Plant  Reported "Incidents" to Regulators;  Workers Wore Radiation Readers

Workers at the former Huntington (Reduction) Pilot Plant operated by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) wore dosimeters during their work, according to a supervisor's records. The now deceased supervisor channeled the documents/diary to their survivor(s), who made them available in full to HNN.

The supervisor's application for Energy Worker Compensation lists one or more "incidents" which required notification of the AEC (now the equivalent of the Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission. A portion of his notes describe his own actions to prepare the plant for wrecking. Cleveland Wrecking did the job. A PDF attachment is available below.

Despite the "cleaning" apparently the bulk of the construction debris went to a then "classified" landfill at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The contents of the burial later leached into Beaver Creek and the Scioto River, eventually contaminating the aquifer.

His words have a matter of fact, yet almost haunting expression :At this time we withhold his identity to protect his family's privacy.. The documents were found after the death of a siblings father and mother.

The workers daughter wrote, "I would like to tell you some things about my father… he never talked about his job after he started work in the Reduction Pilot Plant at INCO. He worked there for ten years, and eventually took over as [supervisor]…”

Following his retirement, he did consultation  by “helping dismantle the RPP” in 1978, as “some of the workers were very reluctant to touch and dismantle parts of the plant, he did it himself… it was hands on , dirty work.” A PDF attachment contains excerpts from the 70s.

Medical records and other documents reveal:

  1. He was exposed to the elements of the materials used at the RPP from 1953-1979 on a full time basis. (He had cancer of the bones, brain, legs, prostrate and vital organs)
  2. Raw materials, machinery and other government property went to facilities in Kentucky and Tennessee
  3. The supervisor  often recalled the failure of the badges to properly record the level of exposure on a daily basis. He talked of the failure of workers to work in the hot sports during the disassembly of the plant. He did this work himself… he felt he was serving his country in his own way.

The former supervisor  developed cancer in April 1992 telling doctors  “this cancer had something to do with his job.” However, dad told his daughter at the physician’s, “Don’t even consider any action on this… He loved his work at INCO and was very patriotic, when it wasn’t very fashionable to be, and felt that he was doing something to help his country and government.  He became so sick, so quickly and died eight months from the time he was diagnosed with cancer.”

According to the documents when his daughter started taking typing in school, which coincided with her mothers miscarriage of twin babies in 1953-54, “Dad enlisted me to type certain things for him concerning work. He stood right behind me, and if I made a mistake and tried to throw the paper away, he grabbed it and destroyed it, right there on the spot. The only thing that I gleaned from this was that he did work with some kind of radiation.”

During a review of his journal, statements are made about numerous “accidents” at the RPP and that after them Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) officials came to the plant.

However, at this time, we cannot confirm the dates of the incidents.

Although "contaminated" portions of the plant were trucked and buried in Piketon, Ohio, former worker interviews indicate that contaminants, including radioactive ones, were disposed in Huntington at what is now the Dietz Hollow Landfill.

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