Radium Contamination at Non-Military Sites LLW Forum Meeting
Radium Contamination at Non-Military Sites LLW Forum Meeting October 17, 2017 Alexandria, Virginia David Misenhimer, Project Manger Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery and Waste Programs (DUWP) Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) Acronyms AEA- Atomic Energy Act CT- State of Connecticut
DoD- U.S. Department of Defense EPA-U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPAct- Energy Policy Act of 2005 ORNL- Oak Ridge National Laboratory mrem/yr- millirem per year NARM- Naturally-occurring and acceleratorproduced radioactive material NY- State of New York
Overview Background Identifying historic radium sites Results of site identification work
Outreach Initial Site Visits Results State Interactions 3 Background Radium-226 half-life is ~1600 years therefore historic radium sites could still pose a hazard to the public Energy Policy Act of 2005 amended the AEA to add discrete sources of radium-226 to the existing definition of byproduct material,
thereby giving NRC the authority to regulate such sources NARM Rule of 2007 implemented the radium-226 related provisions of the EPAct and defined discrete source NRC gained jurisdiction over radium-226 in all non-Agreement States in late 2009 o Phased implementation from 2007-2009 4 Background Initial efforts focused on defining NRCs jurisdiction over military radium
During late 2013 staff became aware of 2 non-military sites undergoing remediation for radium contamination Great Kills Park (NY) and Waterbury Clock Factory (CT) This prompted NRC staff to consider its regulatory authority over non-military sites with historical radium contamination From 2014-2015, NRC staff hired a contractor to research sites with historical radium contamination 5 Identifying Historic Radium Sites
Given Great Kills Park, Waterbury + other clock sites, NRC considered it reasonable for more sites to exist NRC contracted with ORNL to conduct research on historic radium sites Three general objectives: 1. Identify locations where radium was used/processed 2. Gather available site information (nature and extent of contamination etc.) 3. Develop methodology to prioritize sites based on potential hazard to public 6
Objective 1: Identify Locations of Use Radium was used to help illuminate products (i.e., dials, gauges, compasses, switches, watches) In addition to its industrial uses, in the early 20th century radium-226 was a popular additive in consumer products due to its supposed beneficial health properties Identified historic applications or products containing radium-226 as a method to backtrack to its manufacturing source Using historical records, databases, literature searches etc., identified factory locations were
radium-226 was used 7 Historic Radium Uses Luminescent Devices 8 Image source: Buchholtz and Cervera, 2008 Historic Radium Uses Irradiation Sources 9 Image source: Buchholtz and Cervera, 2008
Image source: Buchholtz and Cervera, 2008 Objective 2: Site Data Collection (if available) Site Reports: Focused on non-Agreement State sites Description of the site Current structures/site condition Existing site controls
Operational history Any past remediation activities Nature and extent of contamination Proximity of populations to the site Past and current State and Federal involvement 13 Objective 3: Site Prioritization ORNL instructed to notify NRC staff of any sites that potentially require immediate attention A prioritization methodology was developed for NRC follow-up actions; 4 Tiers of sites were
developed: Tier 1, 2, and 3 sites are those sites where radium-226 was historically present at the site Tier 1 sites potentially have the highest levels of human exposure to radium-226 contamination (and thus risk); site access is not controlled Tier 2 sites have a lower potential for human exposure to radium-226 contamination than Tier 1 sites; site access is weakly controlled Tier 3 sites are unlikely to have the potential for human exposures to radium-226 contamination due to strong access 14 controls Sites in Tier 4 are sites where the NRC suspects that radium-
Excluding Sites for Follow-up The NRC staff excluded: Sites with a current NRC license Sites where the NRC does not have jurisdiction Sites where cleanup has already been completed Sites where cleanup is or will be addressed under another program (either under NRC or other
oversight, such as the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program) 15 Results of Site Identification
Work ORNL identified 29 historic radium use sites for potential NRC follow-up 47 individual site owners are associated with the 29 historic radium sites Some original buildings are still in use today Historical uses included: Manufacturing of radium-226 items (switches, toilet flushes, radium gauge repair, radium watches) Current uses include: mainly industrial or office use; storage use; and in limited cases, residential use
16 Outreach NRC began formal outreach activities with the States and local governments in July 2016 Awareness Whether any additional information available In October 2016, NRC staff sent letters to identified site owners and began scheduling site visits In November 2016, NRC staff began performing initial site visits at properties to determine whether residual radium-226 from
historic operations existed 17 Initial Site Visits Inspection Procedures: Temporary Instruction 2800/043 Details how initial site visits are conducted Threshold for immediate controls associated with the public dose limit of 100 mrem/yr for current site uses Communications approaches Site-specific Fact Sheets in English and Spanish Dose Assessment Technical Basis Document
Defines the criterion for determining whether or not a site meets 25 mrem/yr and requires remediation for future use 18 Results NRC staff has contacted all site owners where an initial site visit is needed To date, initial site visits have been performed at 32 unique site owner properties Radium-226 contamination has been identified at about 43% (14) of the sites visited
A majority of the initial site visits have not identified contamination above the NRC staffs proposed action level of 100 mrem/yr 19 Results Of the 32 initial site visits performed to date, 14 unique site owner properties have been identified with radium-226 contamination that is above background Of these 14, 4 unique site owner properties were identified that exceeded the NRC staffs action levels for recommending access controls (radiation levels equivalent
to 100 mrem/yr assuming eight hour occupancy) To date, it is estimated that 6 sites need to 20 perform cleanup Results 2 cleanup plans have been received NRC has been working collaboratively with the State and EPA at 1 site with contamination where the owner would have difficulty funding cleanup 21
State Interactions Continuing coordination and communications with Agreement and Non-Agreement States Regular OAS updates Sharing lessons learned Providing support to Agreement State information requests NRC staff has provided additional information on Agreement State sites, at their request 22
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