Dismantlement of heavily contaminated
Linde Building 14 to start in April 2004

An informational meeting was held March 22 by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Holmes Elementary School, which lies adjacent to the Linde Site.

The project will cost $11 million dollars. Shaw Environmental has been given the contract. Work will commence April 5 with completion scheduled by the end of September.

Corps officials described the step-by-step deconstruction process and the safety and monitoring precautions to be taken on- and off-site. To calm concerns over airborne contaminant disperal, it was emphasized that no wrecking ball would be seen on-site and three dust and radioactive alerters will be positioned in close proximity to the building. Asbestos removal will occur first.

The Corps stated that all the building debris will be taken to the Waste Control Specialists, Inc. facility located 30 miles west of Andrews, Texas. Dedicated usage rail shipment containers will be used. WCS is licensed by the state of Texas to receive "low-level" radioactive wastes, including the FUSRAP uranium wastes.

According to the Corps, the facility's specific U-238 decay chain limits are 150 pCi/gram for both uranium (U-total) and thorium-230, and 30 pCi/gram for radium-226. The Corps will apply these limits by using a method of averaging. To avoid possible the exclusion of highly contaminated pieces, which could contain manyfold (10 to 100 times) higher concentrations than the WCS limits, measurements of individual debris pieces will be volumetrically averaged over debris volumes of up to 500 cubic yards.

Building 14 was used by Linde/Union Carbide during and after World War II as the pilot plant to develop the uranium extraction processes. It is heavily contaminated with U-238 decay chain members, including Ra-226 from the processing of K-65 ores from the former Belgian Congo. Three attempts to decontaminate the building, starting in 1996 (DOE), were unsuccessful, even though both the DOE and Corps used surface decontamination guidelines that were from 3 times (for fixed total uranium) to 50 times (for removable radium-226) the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission standards for release of a structure for unrestricted re-use.

After more questioning, the Corps said that some contaminated materials, likely soils exceeding the WCS limits, will be sent to IUC's White Mesa mill near Blanding, Utah.