NRC to hold Aug. 13 meeting on shut nuclear fuel site

Aug. 6, 2013

Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will conduct a public meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 13 regarding the pending termination of the NRC license for a former nuclear fuel manufacturing facility in Windsor, Conn.

The site is owned by ABB Inc.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Windsor Town Hall, at 275 Broad St. in Windsor. Before the session concludes, members of the public will have an opportunity to pose questions and/or provide comments to NRC staff on decommissioning work at the site and the agency’s reviews of those activities.

An NRC decision to terminate the license will be based on the determination that: 1) NRClicensed radiological materials and wastes have been properly disposed of; 2) a reasonable effort has been made to eliminate residual radioactive contamination; .) a radiological survey has been conducted that demonstrates that the site is suitable for release in accordance with the agency’s decommissioning criteria; and 4) appropriate records have been received.

NRC Region I Administrator Bill Dean said, “Remediating this site represents a significant amount of effort on the part of ABB and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This process has been accomplished in a safe manner, consistent with the NRC’s requirements.”

ABB Inc. (formerly Combustion Engineering-Windsor) manufactured nuclear fuel at the site, which is bordered by Day Hill Road to the south. Facilities at the site were also used at various times to conduct and support nuclear research and development work, including the construction, testing and operation of a U.S. naval reactor. The activities began in the mid-1950s and continued until 2001. As a result of those activities, soils, buildings and equipment surfaces were contaminated with uranium and radioactive byproduct materials.

The company submitted a site-wide decommissioning plan to the NRC in April 2003 and revised it in October 2003 to include dose-modeling information. Several buildings at the site were subsequently demolished and the resulting waste materials shipped to a licensed disposal facility. Completion of this phase of decommissioning allowed approximately half of the 600-acre site to be released for unrestricted use in 2009.

Meanwhile, certain portions of the site were the responsibility of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) because radioactive contamination at the facility was caused by defense-related activities. In 2008 and 2010, ABB submitted decommissioning plan revisions that addressed the FUSRAP areas. The NRC approved the changes in 2009 and 2011, respectively. ABB then conducted the decommissioning activities under NRC oversight, which included on-site inspections.

Site remediation work for the remainder of the facility was completed in December 2011. Postdecommissioning radiological checks have been conducted by ABB and reviewed by the NRC. The NRC’s reviews have been coordinated with other federal and state agencies. In addition, the NRC performed independent measurements and sampling that confirmed ABB’s sampling results.

The decommissioning plan for the site and the results of the post-decommissioning confirmatory measurements and sampling are available in the NRC’s ADAMS electronic documents system.