United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Salmon River

1.0 Site Identification

Location: Tendoy, ID
License No.: R-0230 and P-4001
Docket No.: 040-03400
License Status: Unknown
Project Manager: Bruce Watson

2.0 Site Status Summary

The former Salmon River Uranium Development (SRUD) mill site consists of a 21.5-acre privately-owned land surrounded by United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service lands. Located along the Salmon River, 5 miles west of North Fork, ID, the site includes an abandoned mine, a large structure previously used for milling and chemical operations, and a tailings pond. The site was licensed from 1958 through 1959 under the Atomic Energy Commission. Although both uranium and thorium ore were mechanically and chemically processed at the site, it is suspected that operations with source material at SRUD were very minor and only experimental in nature. There is also hazardous contamination in the mill (primarily, sulfuric acid) resulting from the operations at the facility between 1978-1979. Contamination is found inside the buildings, the tailings pond and is believed to extend to an area of 2 acres around the mill.

The site was identified as part of the terminated license review project conducted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory during the 1990s. On May 2001, staff from NRC Region IV visited the former SRUD site and identified thorium contamination in the form of partially processed ore. Laboratory results confirmed that the material onsite was "source material" (i.e., >0.05 wt% Th). On July 2001, the property owners were notified regarding the results of the site inspection. The NRC and Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education conducted a scoping survey of the property in October 2003, and the results were mailed to the site owners a couple of months later. During 2004 and 2005, staff worked with the site owners, NRC's Office of the General Counsel, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a path forward to address remediation of the site. On December 2005, NRC mailed a letter to EPA to request their assistance in the remediation of the property, in part because of the existing hazardous contamination at the site. Staff from NRC and EPA coordinated a site visit to assess the existing radiological and non-radiological contamination at the site. This site visit was conducted during June 2006. EPA received the assessment report from the contractor on April 2007, and provided a copy to the NRC. The report can be accessed using ADAMS Accession Number ML071560458. On August 2007, EPA approved a removal action at the site (ADAMS Accession Number ML072610613). NRC and EPA started remediation of the site in late October 2007. EPA completed remediation activities at the site in June 2008. NRC conducted confirmatory radilogical surveys and obtained soil samples for analysis by ORISE, NRC's contracted laboratory.

3.0 Major Technical or Regulatory Issues

Key issues are financial assurance, as well as the existence of source material and hazardous waste in the property. EPA has developed a screening criteria to address radiological remediation at the site, based on the requirements in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. Its derivation is explained in an e-mail to the NRC dated August 8, 2007 (ADAMS Accession Number ML072700761). NRC will evaluate final status surveys and sample results to determine if the remediated site will meet the unrestricted release requirements under 10 CFR 20.1402.

4.0 Estimated Date For Closure


Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, May 30, 2014