Brookhaven National Laboratory
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is the former site of a U.S. Army installation (Camp Upton) and has been involved in research and development activities in support of the Department of Energy (DOE) and its predecessor agencies since 1947. BNL’s facilities conduct basic and applied research in high energy and nuclear physics and in other areas of science.
Throughout the course of its operations, the potential for beryllium exposure existed at this site, due to beryllium use, residual contamination, and decontamination activities.
In 1942, the Electro Metallurgical Company (ElectroMet), a subsidiary of Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation, was contracted by the Manhattan Engineer District to design, engineer, construct, and operate a metal reduction plant. Developing the technology to produce pure uranium metal was a priority for the Manhattan Project. ElectroMet received uranium tetrafluoride from Union Carbide’s Linde Air Products Division. ElectroMet reacted the uranium tetrafluoride with magnesium in induction furnaces to produce uranium metal. Once the metal was produced, it was cast into ingots, and the ingots were then shipped out for testing or for rolling. The leftover process residues were sent to other sites for uranium recovery, storage, or disposal. ElectroMet was also in charge of recasting metal, research and development in low- and high-grade uranium ores, and supplying calcium metal to Los Alamos and other laboratories. From 1950 through 1953, the plant casted zirconium metal sponge into ingots. Ownership of the facility was transferred from the Atomic Energy Commission to ElectroMet in 1953.
Environmental Measurements Laboratory
EML traces its roots to the Medical Division of the Manhattan Project during and after World War II. The Division focused on industrial hygiene, radiation protection and safety. In 1946, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was created. The lab was renamed the Health and Safety Division of the AEC. In 1953 it became the Health and Safety Laboratory, or HASL. Fallout from nuclear weapons tests became a major concern and the lab’s focus shifted to measurements and assessments of fallout using a network of gummed film monitoring stations and measurements of the radioactivity levels in various food products. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the worldwide sampling network was expanded considerably to include soil and water samples, air filter samples at the surface and in the stratosphere, biological samples, and measurements of wet and dry fallout. In the 1970’s, the lab’s worldwide sampling programs were expanded to include non-nuclear pollutants. When the Atomic Energy Commission was abolished in 1975, the Health and Safety Laboratory became part of the Energy Research and Development Administration. In 1977, the Energy Research and Development Administration was absorbed by the Department of Energy, and the Health and Safety Laboratory changed its name to the Environmental Measurements Laboratory.
In the 1970’s, the lab performed extensive radiation transport and dosimetry studies in and around nuclear facilities, and established the Quality Assurance Program for environmental dosimeters and radioanalytical measurements. The lab also did extensive dose reconstructions for nuclear weapons tests, and studied radon in homes. The lab took immediate measurements after the Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents, providing the ability to accurately and comprehensively reconstruct the environmental contamination resulting from these incidents.
In 1997, the lab underwent a major change of focus when it moved from the DOE Office of Energy Research to the Office of Environmental Management. Today, EML’s primary focus is to support environmental monitoring, decommissioning, decontamination, and remediation efforts. EML continues to put its worldwide monitoring network to good use by developing models of the atmospheric transport of pollutants. The lab has assisted in developing instruments in support of non-proliferation activities and conducts in-situ measurements in support of many decontamination and decommissioning activities undertaken by DOE after the end of the Cold War. In 2003 this laboratory was incorporated into the Department of Homeland Security.
Ashland Oil (Haist Property)
In late June 1943, the Manhattan Engineer District (MED) leased the Haist Property (now known as the Ashland #1 site) for the storage of waste residues produced during uranium-ore processing at the nearby Linde Air Products facility. The MED then purchased the property in August 1944 for continued use by Linde. After the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) no longer needed the property, it was excessed to the General Services Administration, which controlled the site from 1949 through 1960. In 1960, Ashland Oil Company acquired the property. Although the property was designated for inclusion in the Formerly Utilized Site Remedial Action Program in 1984, no remediation occurred prior to its transfer to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
Lake Ontario Ordinance Works
In 1944, the Manhattan Engineer District (MED) obtained a portion of the Lake Ontario Ordnance Works (LOOW) from the Department of Defense (DOD) for storage of low-grade radioactive residues resulting from pitchblende ore processing at the Linde Air Products facility. In 1948, when the DOD decommissioned the LOOW, the AEC acquired 1511 acres of the site, including the original storage areas. The AEC declared most of this property as excess in 1955, and by 1968 the General Services Administration was able to dispose of 1298 acres, with 213 acres remaining under AEC control. In 1975, additional property was transferred to the town of Lewiston, leaving the present 191-acre site. The DOE portion of the site became known as the Niagara Falls Storage Site (NFSS). The site remained under DOE control until 1997 when it was transferred to the Corps of Engineers under the FUSRAP program. Following World War II, Linde’s refinery was decommissioned and contaminated equipment was disposed at the LOOW. Contaminated materials from other MED/AEC facilities were also shipped to LOOW for disposal. Beginning in 1949, residues from operations at the Mallinckrodt Chemical Works were shipped to LOOW for storage. During the early 1950’s, the AEC portion of the LOOW was also used for interim storage of uranium and thorium billets and rods being processed by various New York companies. During 1953-1954, the AEC constructed a boron isotope separation plant at the LOOW, which began operations in 1954. The operating contractor for this plant was the Hooker Electrochemical Company which referred to it as Plant 31 (P-31).. In 1958, the facility was placed on stand-by and a maintenance contractor, Page Airways, was employed for routine surveillance. The operation was restarted in 1964, with Nuclear Materials and Equipment Company as the operating contractor. In 1971, the boron facility was again placed on stand-by with National Lead Company of Ohio (NLO) as the caretaker. In 1981, Bechtel National took over the caretaker contract and began plans for remedial work at the site. Clean-up began in 1982.
Linde Ceramics Plant
The Linde Air Company performed uranium and nickel processing for the Manhattan Engineer District (MED) and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) at the Ceramics Plant in Tonawanda. African and Canadian ores were milled to black oxides at the plant. Documents indicate that the facility was placed on standby as of March 1, 1950. Linde’s contractual agreements with the AEC continued through 1953 for various activities relating to closing out work at the Tonawanda location. Linde was a part of Carbide and Carbon Chemical Corporation (C&CCC), which then became Union Carbide. In 1980, Linde Ceramics was designated as part of the Formerly Utilized Site Remediation Action Program (FUSRAP) and work under this program was performed during 1988-1992, and then again in 1996. The 1996 work was performed under the Bechtel National Inc. umbrella contract for DOE environmental site remediation. *Buildings 30,31,37 and 38 of the Linde Ceramics Plant meet the definition of a DOE facility for the years 1942 through 1953. This means that employees who worked in these buildings during these years are eligible under both Part B and E of the EEOICPA. The Tonawanda Laboratory, which is also known as Building 14, meets the definition of an AWE for the years 1942-1953. Under the EEOICPA, employees of AWE facilities are not eligible under Part E of the EEOICPA.
Peek Street Facility
A note in the file for the Sacandaga facility indicates that Peek Street was a predecessor to the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. Throughout the course of its operations, the potential for beryllium exposure existed at this site, due to beryllium use, residual contamination, and decontamination activities. **Consistent with the Act, coverage is limited to activities not performed under the responsibility of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program.
SAM Laboratories, Columbia University
Columbia University was already researching some of the problems involved in determining whether it was feasible for the United States to build a nuclear weapon prior to the establishment of the Manhattan Engineer District (MED). Once the MED was formed in 1942, Columbia became part of the effort to build the first atomic weapons. At that time, the Columbia effort was reorganized and designated as SAM (Special Alloy Materials or Substitute Alloy Materials) Laboratories. Buildings used as part of the SAM laboratories at Columbia included Pupin, Schermerhorn, Prentiss, Havemeyer and Nash. Work at SAM Laboratories ended in 1947 with the establishment of the AEC. Subsequent work at Columbia University focused on health effects and basic nuclear physics that were not directly related to the production of nuclear weapons.
Separations Process Research Unit (at Knolls Lab.)
In 1950, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) constructed the Separations Process Research Unit (SPRU) as a pilot plant for developing and testing two chemical processes to extract both uranium and plutonium from irradiated fuel. This facility was operated by the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. Research and development was completed at SPRU in 1953 and the facility was closed. The technology developed at SPRU was transferred to the Hanford site. In March of 1965 the site was taken over by the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program.
**Consistent with the Act, coverage is limited to activities not performed under the responsibility of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program.
University of Rochester Atomic Energy Project
Although much of the early theoretical and experimental work that led to development of the first nuclear weapon was accomplished outside the United States, American researchers made a number of fundamental contributions as well. Prior to 1942, the University of Rochester was one of the institutions that contributed to early nuclear physics research in the United States. The university was responsible for more than a hundred projects in chemistry, physics, biology, medicine and psychology. During the Manhattan Project, it had major responsibility for the medical aspects of the bomb program. After the war, Rochester received an AEC contract to operate the Atomic Energy Project (AEP), which focused on the biomedical aspects of nuclear energy. The University of Rochester also received funding to study the pathology and toxicology of beryllium as well as to study the analytical chemistry of micro-quantities.
West Valley Demonstration Project
From 1966 to 1972, Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc., under contract to the State of New York, operated a commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing plant at the Western New York Nuclear Services Center. The plant reprocessed uranium and plutonium from spent nuclear fuel; sixty percent of this fuel was generated at defense facilities. Spent nuclear fuel reprocessing generated approximately 600,000 gallons of liquid high-level radioactive waste; this waste was stored onsite in underground tanks.
In 1980, the United States Congress passed the West Valley Demonstration Project Act (Public Law 96-368), which authorized the Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct a technology demonstration project to solidify the liquid high-level waste at the Western New York Nuclear Services Center. Under this act, DOE is also responsible for developing containers suitable for the permanent disposal of the solidified high-level waste at an appropriate Federal repository; transporting the containers to this repository; disposing of low level waste and transuranic waste generated by high level waste solidification; and decontaminating and decommissioning facilities used for the solidification. DOE is also responsible for dispositioning the spent nuclear fuel stored at the site.
In 1982, DOE selected vitrification as the treatment process for high level waste. This process solidifies and stabilizes nuclear waste by mixing it with molten glass. Pretreatment of the high-level waste began in 1988 and was successfully completed in 1995. DOE expects to complete the West Valley Demonstration Project by 2005.
During the period of residual contamination, as designated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and as noted in the dates above, employees of subsequent owners and operators of this facility are also covered under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act.