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UPDATED: Huntington’s Houdaille Plant Handled Radioactive Materials;
The plant was awarded $115,930 for a full demonstration of recovering nickel from sludge produced by integrated chemical rinsing of plated parts. A notation from Industrial Pollution Control Division Reports/Abstracts from Industrial Environmental Research Laboratory (Cincinnati, Ohio) indicated the work with non-ferrous metals "will evaluate the effectiveness and economics of this metal recovery process under actual plant conditions."
However, this contract was awarded while the former Huntington Pilot Plant (HPP), which processed nickel , nickel carbonyl and uranium for nuclear weapons, was shut and on "cold stand by. Historic documents demonstrate that HPP shut in 1962 and was demolished in 1978-1979.
The Houdaille plant also used nickel substances in the car bumpers they manufactured.
PREVIOUS HOUDAILLE STORY:
Although the demonstration project for EPA would not qualify Houdaille workers as "atomic energy" employees (since they must have worked at an Atomic Energy Commission facility), Great Britain in 1949 compensated nickel refinery workers in Clydach, Wales . Workers there developed lung and nasal cancers working in operations involving "the decomposition of a gaseous nickel compound."
An NAS-NRC report did not specifically name nickel carbonyl as the "agent" causing lung and nasal cancer at the Clydach facility, but no excess increases of these cancers had been reported in nickel refineries not using the carbonyl process.
Studies from the USSR, Japan and Germany showed increased worker deaths from nasal cavity and lung cancers. However, two epidemiological studies of Huntington Alloy workers were inconclusive.
However, "Nickel Powder/Nuclear Weapons: The Untold Story" by Clifford Honicker, M. A., Director, American Environmental Health Studies Project, Inc., describes a purposefully misleading report on nickel contamination, partly by excluding women and African Americans as test subjects. Both groups have been found to be more susceptible to nickel dust.
Linking nickel barrier recycling from the three gaseous diffusion plats (Oakridge, Paducah, Portsmouth) , the document describes recycling of these radioactive materials at the Huntington, WV Atomic Energy Commission plant, as well as in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Other documents originate most nickel items from the Huntington facility.
Apparently validating an HPP supervisor's diary, the K-25 document speaks of midnight venting into the atmosphere. When UF6 and nickel dust became too thick a manager or supervisor at the K-25 operation would order fans and vents on the ceiling activated. Applying the same scenario of K-25 to HPP, the supervisor's notes illustrate that the surrounding community of Guyandotte had excess UF6 (uranium hexafluoride used in the nuclear weapons making fuel cycle and is often stored as the unstable depleted uranium) and nickel dust (possibly including nickel carbonyl) jettisoned into the air that was breathed.
No level reports or other inspections occurred at the AEC facilities. They were "secret" and thus so-called "self policing" and exempt from NIOSH, OSHA and EPA rules.