Molycorp (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)
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1.0 Site Identification
|Type of Site:||Complex Decommissioning Site|
|Project Manager:||Kim Conway (NRC Decommissioning Contact)|
2.0 Site Status Summary
Molycorp produced a ferroniobium alloy from an ore that contained natural thorium with some uranium. The operation resulted in the production of thorium-bearing slag that was used as fill over portions of the site. Molycorp submitted its original DP in July 1995. After consultation with NRC staff, the licensee stated its intention to submit a revised DP in two parts. Part I of the DP addressed cleanup of the contamination portion of the site to comply with the SDMP criteria. Part II would address disposal of material from York and Washington in an impoundment on the Washington site and would comply with the LTR. Part 1 of the revised DP was submitted on June 30, 1999. The staff approved the Part I DP on August 8, 2000. In January 2001, Molycorp withdrew its amendment request for approval of the Part II DP (on site disposal cell). While Molycorp will continue to decommission the Washington facility under its previously approved Part I DP, it will now dispose of the material off site and will ultimately seek a unrestricted release of the site. On February 26, 2001, Molycorp informed NRC that it finished removal of all its stored above ground waste and shipped the material to the Envirocare facility in Clive, Utah. Molycorp now has torn down all of its buildings and has sent non-rad contaminated materials off site and rad materials to Waste Control Specialists (WCS). All buildings and foundations have been removed from the site. The licensee has developed and has conducted a new site characterization to determine the amount and extent of contamination and a path forward for decommissioning the surface and subsurface soils. The license estimates the cost of decommissioning to be approximately $30.3 million.
This site is located 56.3 Km (35 mi) southwest of the City of Pittsburgh in Canton Township, less than 0.8 Km (0.5 mi) southwest of the City of Washington, PA. Molycorp produced a ferroniobium alloy from an ore that contained natural thorium with some uranium. The operation resulted in the production of thorium-bearing slag that was used as fill over portions of the site. Average thorium concentrations over most of the site are between 100 and 200 pCi/g. In some locations, the contamination extends up to 3 m (10 ft) in the subsurface soil. Estimates of total waste volumes range from 45,846 - 114,615 m3 (60,000 - 150,000 yd3). Molycorp submitted its original DP in July 1995. The DP proposed on-site storage, followed by permanent disposal of the waste, from both the Washington and York sites, in an impoundment on the Washington site. Because on site disposal would have exceeded the SDMP Action Plan criteria, the NRC staff requested that Molycorp submit an environmental report (ER) as part of the DP. The licensee supplemented the 1995 DP with an ER in April 1997. After consultation with NRC staff, the licensee stated its intention to submit the DP in two parts. Part I of the DP would address cleanup of the contaminated portion of the site and comply with the SDMP criteria. Part II would address disposal of material from York and Washington in an impoundment on the Washington site and would comply with the LTR. NRC staff agreed to this approach and a revised DP (Part I) was submitted on June 30, 1999. The staff approved the Part I DP on August 8, 2000. Molycorp commenced remediation of subsurface contamination in April 2006 and excavation began in July 2006. ORISE conducted inprocess and confirmatory surveys, and sampling in November 2006 for Area A1N. Background Public concern in the Canton Township, City of Washington area, is low. Congressional interest also mirrors that found in the local community. The NRC has conducted two local public meetings to keep interested parties informed, the second of which was attended by over 300 people. On March 20, 2001, DWM staff participated in an "open house" style public meeting in Washington, PA, hosted by the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR). Other agencies participating included the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The purpose of the meeting was to provide the public an opportunity to ask questions concerning the ATSDR's health risk assessment for the Molycorp, Washington, PA site. The study had been conducted at the request of a concerned citizen. The ATSDR found that radiation levels both on & off site would not result in any adverse health effects. The license for the site has been turned over to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania after it became an Agreement State.
3.0 Major Technical or Regulatory Issues
Public concern in the Canton Township, City of Washington area, is low. Congressional interest also mirrors that found in the local communities. In October 2006, Molycorp informed the NRC that material from the site may have been used at the Canton Township VFW Post, adjacent to the site, as fill for a driveway. Radiation surveys and samples were collected in November and a final report and work plan was submitted to the NRC in February 2007. The report indicated that elevated readings was detected in several locations of the driveway and work plans were executed to excavate these areas in the spring of 2007. Molycorp informed residences in the area, via letters, of the work activities at the VFW. The slag material was returned to the site for proper disposal. Work for the VFW driveway was scheduled to commence in June 2007 and the work activities was completed in August 2007. In May 2007, Molycorp informed the NRC and PADEP that several discrete sources were detected in the MGP tar pond area. Molycorp conducted further characterization of the area and found only one additional piece of slag. A work plan was developed to monitor the removal of the south tar pond berm area. This work was completed in August 2007. PADEP conducted independent radiation surveys on the VFW driveway and did not detect any elevated readings. Additional slag pieces was found at the South Tar Pond berm area and was successfully removed in August 2007. As of September 1, 2007, Molycorp, Inc. changed its name to Chevron Mining Co.
4.0 Estimated Date For Closure