United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Kirtland Air Force Base

1.0 Site Identification

Location: Albuquerque, NM
License No.: 42-23539-01AF
Docket No.: 030-28641
License Status: Unknown
Project Manager: Rachel Browder

2.0 Site Status Summary

Eight radiation training sites were established in November 1961 at Kirtland Air Force Base. The U.S. Government owns the sites. Four of the eight sites, TS5 through TS8, were scheduled for decommissioning after activities at these sites were terminated in 1990. The four inactive training sites were used to train U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other Federal and State personnel to detect dispersed contamination resulting from simulated nuclear weapons accidents. Thorium oxide sludge was applied and tilled into site soils to simulate dispersed radiological contamination. The thorium oxide sludge served as a low hazard analog for plutonium. A total inventory of 1,710 kilograms of thorium sludge or approximately 602 kg of Th-232 was applied at the sites. Total land area impacted was approximately 44 acres. TS8 was also used as a storage site and had two storage bunkers (Buildings 28005 and 28010) located within its boundary. A DP was submitted July 14, 2000, and revised November 19, 2002. NRC staff approved the DP on January 6, 2003. NRC Materials License 42-23539-01AF was amended on January 6, 2003, to incorporate the revised DP into License Condition 20.P. The Air Force permittee has completed all decommissioning activities and submitted the FSSR on May 18, 2005. Portions of TS8, including Building 28005, will remain on the permit and will not be released as originally submitted in the DP. The licensee estimates the cost of decommissioning to be approximately $12.8 million.

3.0 Major Technical or Regulatory Issues

There are no major technical issues. During September 2003, Kirtland Air Force Base was cited for its failure to adhere to standard operating procedures. By letter dated October 21, 2003, the Air Force formally contested the violation. NRC acknowledged the letter on November 26, 2003 and requested additional information from the Air Force. By letter dated May 10, 2004, NRC concluded that the violation was valid and denied the licensee's request that the violation be retracted.

4.0 Estimated Date For Closure


Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012