United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

NRC to Hold Public Meeting in Washington, Pennsylvania, on Molycorp Proposal


NRC Seal NRC NEWS
U. S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
Office of Public Affairs Telephone: 301/415-8200
Washington, DC 20555-001 E-mail: opa@nrc.gov

No. 99-67
April 6, 1999

NRC TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETING IN WASHINGTON, PENNSYLVANIA, ON MOLYCORP PROPOSAL

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public meeting April 15 in Washington, Pennsylvania, to discuss the status of decommissioning of Molycorp, Inc.'s Washington, Pennsylvania, site and the company's request for authorization to construct and operate a storage facility at the site for radioactive soils.

The soils were generated at another Molycorp site, located in York, Pennsylvania. Both the Washington and the York site hold current NRC licenses. The meeting, which will begin at 6:00 p.m., will be held in the North Trinity Elementary School, 225 Midland Drive, Washington.

The Molycorp Washington site consists of about 17 acres. Between 1964 and 1970 Molycorp produced a ferrocolumbium alloy from a Brazilian ore that was about one to one-and-a-half percent natural thorium (a radioactive material). The operation resulted in the production of thorium-bearing slag, which was used as fill over portions of the site.

Because a fence runs around the site, there is no immediate threat to public health and safety.

The York site, which consists of about six acres, was used from 1965 to 1992 to process lanthanide ores and concentrates containing low concentrations of thorium and uranium. In a January 1993 letter to the NRC, Molycorp announced that it had stopped all licensed operations there using thorium and uranium.

About 3,000 cubic yards of radioactive soils will be generated as a result of decommissioning operations at York. Molycorp has proposed storage of York soils at Washington as part of a decommissioning plan for the York site.

Before NRC could approve Molycorp's request to build the storage facility in Washington, the licensee would have to demonstrate that the radioactive soils proposed to be transported from York to Washington will be properly contained. The NRC review, which is currently in process, is assessing the environmental and safety impacts of the request.

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