United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Mallinckrodt Chemical Inc.

1.0 Site Identification

Type of Site: Complex Decommissioning Site
Location: St. Louis, MO
License No.: STB-401
Docket No.: 40-6563
License Status: Possession Only License
Project Manager: Jack Hayes

2.0 Site Status Summary

The Mallinckrodt, LLC (Mallinckrodt) facility has been operating since 1867, producing various products including metallic oxides and salts, ammonia, organic chemicals, and uranium compounds. The G. Mallinckrodt & Company originally operated the St. Louis, Missouri facility and became Mallinckrodt Chemical Works in 1882, Mallinckrodt Group Inc. in 1989, Mallinckrodt Chemical Inc. in 1994, and Mallinckrodt, LLC in June 2011. From 1942-1957, Mallinckrodt processed uranium ore to produce uranium for development of atomic weapons for the Manhattan Engineering District and the Atomic Energy Commission (MED-AEC). From 1961 to 1985, Mallinckrodt extracted columbium-tantalum (C-T) from natural uranium ores and tin slags (a by-product of ore smelting), and purchased and processed materials for C-T production. The plant currently produces products for the food, drug, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and specialty chemical industries.

The Mallinckrodt facility is an approximate 17.4-ha [43-acre] site located near the west bank of the Mississippi River in the northeastern section of St. Louis, Missouri. The site is an urban industrial area surrounded by developed land and 3 railroads. The facility consists of over 50 buildings, subdivided into ten areas called “plants”, based on the similarity of operations being performed. The former C-T process areas included 21 support buildings on approximately 1.7 ha [4.2 acres], primarily located within Plant 5, but also in portions of Plants 1, 3, 6, 7, and 8. Support facilities include maintenance shops, laboratories, warehouses, steam boilers, wastewater and air treatment operations, inactive wastewater neutralization basins, and drum storage of hazardous waste. Mallinckrodt will continue to use the site for industrial uses, including Plant 5, after the C-T facilities are decommissioned.

In 1942, Mallinckrodt contracted with the U.S. War Department to produce uranium for use in the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction at the University of Chicago’s graphite reactor. Uranium processing and waste management activities supported early federal government programs during 1942-1958 to develop atomic weapons under MED-AEC. Mallinckrodt was initially the only supplier of uranium compounds for the Manhattan project, and provided high purity uranium products used during World War II. Mallinckrodt processed euxenite mineral ore from 1956-1960, uranyl and thorium salt from 1956 to 1977, and researched reactor fuel rod production from 1956 to 1961.

In 1961, Mallinckrodt was issued a source material license, STB-401, by AEC authorizing the possession and use of materials containing uranium and thorium isotope. From 1961-1985, Mallinckrodt produced C-T from uranium and thorium ores and tin slags. Although C-T was no longer being processed, the source material license was renewed in 1989 to allow for the receipt, possession, and manufacturing of 30,000 kg [66140 lbs] of natural and synthetic uranium ores and 30,000 kg [66140 lbs] of natural and synthetic thorium ores. In July 1993, Mallinckrodt’s license was amended to possession only for the decommissioning and license termination process.

Mallinckrodt is decommissioning the C-T project areas in two phases in order to quickly reduce the amount of residual radioactivity at the site while still continuing to operate. In 1997, Mallinckrodt submitted the C-T Phase 1 decommissioning plan (DP) to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), who is the successor of the AEC. Subsequently, the license was amended in 2002 to incorporate the approved Phase 1 DP. Phase 1 was completed in February 2007 when buildings and equipment in Plants 1, 3, 6, and 8 were decommissioned to meet NRC’s criteria for unrestricted release. The revised Phase 2 DP was submitted in 2008 and again in 2010, and decommissioning is expected to take 2 years after NRC approves the plan. Phase 2 will include the remediation of the building slabs and foundations, paved surfaces, and all subsurface materials within Plants 5 and 7 to meet NRC’s unrestricted release criteria. This includes the wastewater neutralization basins, the removal or plugging of contaminated sewers and soils, packaging and shipping of contaminated materials to an appropriate facility, final radiation status survey, backfilling and compaction of remediated areas, and final grading and paving. The Mississippi River is the only surface water near the facility and because of the large flow volume of the river and the environmental controls on the site, no impact to the river during decommissioning is anticipated. Mallinckrodt will continue its non-licensed pharmaceutical business while undergoing decontamination and remediation at the former C-T processing areas. The remediated areas may be used for new manufacturing or support operations.

3.0 Major Technical or Regulatory Issues

Widespread radioactive (uranium, thorium, actinium, and radium) contamination of surfaces, structures, and soil at the Mallinckrodt site resulted from MED-AEC uranium purification activities. MED-AEC contamination is being removed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with oversight by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP), which was created by the U.S. Congress to identify and remediate sites with residual contamination from the early years of the nation's atomic energy program.

Decommissioning at the Mallinckrodt site is taking place in two phases. Phase 1 addressed decommissioning of the buildings and equipment. Phase 1 was completed in December 2004. Phase II includes the decommissioning of the building slabs and foundations, paved surfaces, and all subsurface license related materials to the extent that they can be released for unrestricted use.

Mallinckrodt is requesting to remediate the site to ultimately meet the unrestricted releasecriteria of 10 CFR Part 20, Subpart E.

4.0 Estimated Date For Closure


Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, June 26, 2015