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Uranium rods from Aliquippa, PA

The Vulcan Crucible Steel Company operated a uranium rolling process for the Atomic Energy Commission in 1948 and 1949. Uranium billets were structured and formed into rods, which were then sent to Hanford for use in the reactor there. The rush to satisfy Hanford's need for uranium billets lead to some safety concerns to be overlooked. Records show that the AEC was aware that some workers at this plant were breathing uranium dust at 200 times the safety limit. When Vulcan's contract was completed with the AEC, the Aliquippa Site was decontaminated to the acceptable levels of the time.

In 1978 a radiological survey of the site identified contamination exceeding DOC accepted levels. The site was designated for remediation in 1983. A 1987 another radiological survey was conducted and more contamination was identified. In 1992 a different radiological survey revealed there was more residual uranium contamination than had been originally identified. For Building #3, contamination was found in approximately 11,000 square feet of overhead area (trusses, roof panels, exhaust turrets, ducts, light fixtures, wiring, and conduit); 990 cubic yards of soil and concrete; 1,000 square feet of contaminated walls; 19,000 square feet of contaminated floors; 5 cubic yards from a mica pit; 14 cubic yards from the west cutter pit; and 35 cubic yards of soil from along the western side of the building. The contamination for Building #8 consisted of 530 square feet of overhead area; 5,800 square feet of floor area; 1,140 square feet of wall area; and 13 cubic yards of brick and soil. These areas were decontaminated and the waste was reduced in size and sent to Clive, Utah. DOE reports indicate that Building #3 has contamination in some roof panel joints, some dust near the roof panels and in three concrete support pedestals. The DOC feels that the material left does not pose a risk to present or future workers or members of the public.

References


http://www.lm.doe.gov/WorkArea/linkit.aspx?LinkIdentifier=id&ItemID=1792

http://www.usatoday.com/news/poison/003.htm

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