Thursday, May 16, 2002

Milestone reached in Fernald cleanup


Last of usable uranium shipped

By Steve Kemme, skemme@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CROSBY TOWNSHIP — To the cheers of about 200 onlookers, the last truckload of usable uranium pulled out of Fernald Wednesday, marking the end of a major stage in the cleanup of the former uranium-processing plant.

[photo] A placard on the last truckload of uranium product leaving Fernald Wednesday warns of its contents.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
        As Bob Seger's “Roll On” was played over loudspeakers at a special ceremony, Robert Sizemore climbed into his truck, which bore a “radioactive” emblem, and drove away.

        He took 1,000 pounds of uranium in steel drums that were enclosed in metal boxes to the U.S. Department of Energy's Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio.

        Over the past three years, Fluor Fernald, which was hired by the DOE to clean up the site, has shipped 9.1 million pounds of uranium to Portsmouth, where it will remain in interim storage.

        “We no longer have any uranium product material on site,” said Dr. Don Paine, project director of nuclear materials disposition.

map
        From 1952 to 1989, the Fernald plant contributed to the nation's defense program by producing 500 million pounds of uranium metal products that were used at other federal sites for the production of nuclear weapons.

        When the plant shut down in 1989, there was 31 million pounds of usable uranium on the 1,050-acre site in Crosby Township.

        Fernald shipped 16.7 million pounds to other DOE sites and to private companies that purchased it, 5.2 million pounds to waste disposition sites and 9.1 million pounds to the Portsmouth plant.

        The first of 760 truckloads was sent to Portsmouth on June 2, 1999. No accidents or injuries occurred on the Fernald site or en route to Portsmouth, said Steve McCracken, DOE site manager.

        “This is a tremendous step forward in completing our cleanup mission,” he said.

        Almost all of those attending Wednesday's ceremony were Fernald and DOE employees. Most Crosby Township residents who were invited could not attend because of work, Fernald spokesman Jeff Wagner said.

        Lisa Crawford, president of Fernald Residents for Environmental Safety and Health (FRESH), which has been monitoring the cleanup, said she's pleased that the last of the usable uranium is off the site.

        “It's another milestone that's been met,” said Ms. Crawford, who was unable to attend Wednesday's ceremony. “There have been very few problems or issues with it. Let's just keep moving in the right direction.”

        The entire cleanup of the site is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2006.

        Remaining cleanup work includes processing the waste in silos, demolishing buildings, excavating contaminated soil and extracting and treating contaminated ground water.
       



Killings up 87% over last year
28 slain in Cincinnati neighborhoods
- Milestone reached in Fernald cleanup
Monroe mall plan cut from mega to just big
Charter school to open downtown
Commissioners pave way for Sabin expansion process
Curbing take-home cars saves the city $204,000
Norwood to unveil schools' revamping
Obituary: Dr. Mikio Suo, GE Engines engineer
Presbytery addresses gay issue
Ride your bike to bus stop, take a bus to work
Robbers strip man's clothes
Search goes on for two boaters
Teachers begin voting on merit plan
HOWARD: Some Good News
PULFER: A child's tale
RADEL: Ultimate good cop
Conese guilty of soliciting
Diplomas honor service to country
Fairfield mayor admits open meeting violation
Milford to get places to sip, sup
Relay for Life gets bigger every year
Teens find contest fun, but grueling
Troupe provides inspiration
Brownfield cleanup eases liability rule
Business group in Toledo wants new arena downtown
Cigarette tax hike falters in Capitol
Essay contest promotes Ohio learning program
Mental-retardation director urges training
Ohio high court strikes down same-sex solicitation law
Prison riot leader's sentence of death upheld by high court
Selling dorms proposed
Victim rights endorsed
Flasher gets time in jail
Foal losses decrease from 2001
Human cloning predicted this year
Kentucky News Briefs
Lights to be installed on Pendery Park playing fields
Patton's daughter to leave leadership of state Democrats
Principal openings abundant
Six more sue Louisville church
Study: Minority youths charged, detained more