Houdaille Industries Nickel Recovery Study Not Found

Updated 3 years ago by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor

A study commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency related to nickel recovery by Houdaille Industries cannot be found by the agency, according to Ellen O'Boyle, National Policy, Training & Compliance Division Office of Grants and Debarment.  Commissioned in June 1976, the grant study pertained to Nickel Recovery from Waste Treatment & Purification of sludges.

"We have checked all our  records and no longer have any files or microfiche available." The study was "closed" October 24, 1979. "It has been 34 years since the close date," the letter stated.

Former employees of Houdille have alleged that the factory utilized recycled nickel. During the time period, the recycling could have pertained to nickel contaminated by uranium and other elements from gaseous diffusion plants. Employees there petition and were denied status of atomic energy employees.

The Huntington (Reduction) Pilot Plant , a then classified atomic energy commission (now Department of Energy) facility, operated at Huntington Alloys from 1952-1962, then remained in "cold stand by" until demolition 1978-1979, when radioactively contaminated portions were buried in Piketon, Ohio, on the grounds of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

Huntington's plant processed and recycled barrier and feed materials (among other operations). A Nuclear Regulatory Commission appendix indicated that specially prepared compounds were utilized in the diffusion plants, including "nickel or alloys containing 60 percent or more nickel, aluminum oxide, or UF6-resistant fully fluorinated hydrocarbon polymers having a purity of 99.9 percent by weight or more, a particle size less than 10 µm, and a high degree of particle size uniformity, which are especially prepared for the manufacture of gaseous diffusion barriers."

Cylinders of uranium hexafluoride (UF 6) were evaporated from cylinders and tails of gaseous streams. Again, the NRC document indicated, "All surfaces which come into contact with the process gas are wholly made of, or lined with, UF6-resistant materials. For the purposes of this appendix, the materials resistant to corrosion by UF6 include copper, copper alloys, stainless steel, aluminum, aluminum oxide, aluminum alloys, nickel or alloys containing 60 percent or more nickel and fluorinated hydrocarbon polymers."

Houdaille workers have claimed cancer illnesses related to the recycled materials. No connection has been found.

Although not eligible for energy worker compensation, a 40 year employee of Huntington Alloys recently received a spinal cancer diagnosis and a terminal prognosis.



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