Nov 1, 2013
07:15 AM
Connecticut Today

17 Connecticut Sites Identified in Wall Street Journal's "Waste Lands" Nuclear Cleanup List

17 Connecticut Sites Identified in Wall Street Journal's "Waste Lands" Nuclear Cleanup List

The Wall Street Journal recently published its "Waste Lands" list, identifying radioactive cleanup sites across the nation, based on government records and the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP).

In the study, 17 locations across Connecticut were identified, ranging in status from "Cleanup in Progress" to "Cleanup Declared Complete." Other sites were identified as "Remote or No Potential for Radioactive Contamination" or "Referred to Another Agency," "No Authority to Cleanup under FUSRAP" or simply "Status Unclear." Many of these sites were active decades ago and are where factories or other industrial facilities once stood, and have long been replaced by newer buildings and developments.

As WSJ.com points out, "During the build-up to the Cold War, the U.S. government called upon hundreds of factories and research centers to help develop nuclear weapons and other forms of atomic energy. At many sites, this work left behind residual radioactive contamination requiring government cleanups, some of which are still going on."

In Connecticut, there is one site that qualifies in the "Cleanup in Progress" category—Combustion Engineering in Windsor, where natural, enriched and highly enriched uranium was employed in making fuel assemblies for the Atomic Energy Commission beginning in 1955. The work stopped and cleanup on the 600-acre site began in 1986, but has taken decades to complete.

According to WSJ.com, "A spokesman for Zurich-based ABB Ltd, which purchased the site from Combustion Engineering in 1989, said clean-up work, at a cost of about $150 million, is essentially complete. The company is looking to develop the site for residential and some commercial use."

The state is also listed as having one site as "Cleanup Declared Complete"—Seymour Specialty Wire, which from 1962 to 1964 worked with uranium oxides, salts and metals for Atomic Energy Commission. The site, located on Franklin Street the site (now home to a Super Stop & Shop), was identified as contaminated in multiple radiological surveys, and was remediated in 1993 following the removal of 38 cubic yards of waste.

According to WSJ.com, "A spokeswoman for Seymour Beacon, which owns the 230-acre site, said the Super Stop & Shop store is on part of the property. She said she didn't know past nuclear work there. A spokeswoman for Super Stop & Shop said she couldn't uncover any information about past nuclear work at the location."

There are 11 Connecticut sites in the WSJ survey that conducted work with radioactive and related materials mostly in the 1940s and '50s which were identified as "Remote or No Potential for Radioactive Contamination," including:

• Bridgeport - Bridgeport Brass Co, Havens Laboratory, "Conducted research on drawing/extruding uranium and zirconium tube fabrication”; and American Chain and Cable Co., the exact location of which is not clear, "Supported the manufacture of uranium slugs during the Manhattan Project. In 1944, the company swaged (reduced the diameter) of uranium rods at its Bridgeport facility”

• Canaan - New England Lime Co., "Conducted limited tests to evaluate potential for recovery of magnesium from uranium residues.”

• Danbury - Sperry Products, Inc., “Performed tests involving non-destructive inspection techniques in the 1950s.”

• Middletown - Wesleyan University, "Small quantities of uranium wire (several inches in length) in Physics Department circa late 1950.”

• New Britain/Newington & Hartford -  Fenn Machinery Co,, “Performed short-term tests on small quantities of uranium metal to explore potential for swaging, circa mid-1950.”

• New Haven - Yale Heavy Ion Accelerator, “Research and development with solvents.”

• Stamford - American Cyanamid Co., “Produced boron and possibly handled small amounts of refined radioactive source material circa 1940's. Also possibly performed research work on irradiated "J" slugs in 1952 and 1953.”

• Torrington - Torrington Co., “Performed swaging experiments on small quantities of uranium rods circa 1951 to 1953 as a subcontractor to Bridgeport Brass Co.”

• Waterbury - American Brass Co., “Limited work with copper clad uranium billets during the 1950s.”

• Putnam - Metals Selling Corp., “Performed grinding of (non-radioactive) magnesium circa 1950 -1952 as a sub-contractor to Mallinckrodt Corp.”

Finally, there are three sites that were either referred to another agency, not cleaned up under FUSRAP authority or have a status that isn't clear. Included in this group are: Pratt & Whirtney Corp., CANEL Facility in Middletown (conducted work with uranium in the 1960s, which has been remediated); Olin Mathieson in New Haven (began fabrication of nuclear reactor fuel elements in the 1950s; facility currenty unoccupied but in the process of being remediated); and Dorr Corp. in Stamford (conducted tests on depleted uranium in the 1960s and long since cleaned up).

 

17 Connecticut Sites Identified in Wall Street Journal's "Waste Lands" Nuclear Cleanup List

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