(NORTHEASTERN R ADIOLOGICAL HEALTH LABORATORY)
FORMERLY UTILIZED SITES REMEDIAL ACTION PROGRAM
(NORTHEASTERNR ADIOLOGICAL HEALTH LABORATORY)
Department of Energy
Office of Nuclear Energy
Office of Remedial Action and Waste Technology
Division of Facility and Site Decommissioning Projects
(NORTHEASTERN RADIOLOGICAL HEALTH LABORATORY)
The Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Nuclear Energy, Office
of Terminal Waste Disposal and Remedial Action, Division of Remedial Action Projects (and/or predecessor agencies, offices and divisions,) has reviewed the past activities of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) at the
and standards and are also being operated under Nuclear Regulatory Commission licenses. Therefore, the facilities used by AEC require no remedial action and will not be included in the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program.
This report presents information supporting the determination that
the radiological conditions at the Winchester Engineering and
current DOE radiological guidelines and standards' and provides
assurance that use of these areas will not result in any measurable
radiological hazard to site occupants or the general public because of previous AEC-related activities. U.S. Department of Energy Guidelines for Residual Radioactivity at
Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program and Remote Surplus Facilities Management Program Sites (Rev. 1, July 1985).
The Winchester Engineering and
under sponsorship of AEC, was used to continue development of methods for extraction of uranium and thorium from ore and to prepare metal grade uranium tetrafluoride. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) began the work in 1946 at
The Winchester Engineering and
is now known, was built in 1952 with an AEC appropriation and was
transferred to HEW (now known as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)) in 1961. It is currently operated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Public Health Service, of HHS.
The site property, approximately 5.8 acres, is located at 109
Original facilities included a one-story masonry building used for
administration and laboratory space, a solvent storage building, and a corrugated metal building for pilot-scale projects. These are
unchanged except for some renovation to facilitate the low-level
radiation studies. Two metal frame warehouses were added to the
property to accommodate HEW's programs.
Radiological History and Status
During the contract period, a few wheelbarrow loads of pitchblende
residues were buried at the rear of the laboratory building and
covered with soil and grass. Subsequently, a metal frame warehouse was built at this location. Cleanup operations were conducted in 1960, and AEC removed most of the equipment from the site in 1961.
During the 1960 cleanup, about 14 cubic yards of low-grade
uranium-bearing ore were trucked to the landfill in
Administration, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) conducted a
preliminary radiological survey of the site on January 25, 1977. ORNL concluded that no personnel safety problems or limitations for current operation existed and that further radiation surveys were not warranted.
Location of the
and Analytical Center in
In October 1979, the Woburn Landfill was surveyed by ORNL and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. No radiation above
background was detected.
Regulatory Commission (NRC) licenses 20-08361-01 and SNM-688. Surveys are routinely conducted to ensure compliance with NRC regulations. Because the site was adequately decontaminated and is operating under a license, DOE has eliminated it from consideration for inclusion in
the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program.
1. This facility is owned and operated by the Department of Health,
Education and Welfare, Public Health Service, Food and Drug
2. The development work for uranium from ores was begun by
American Cyanamid Company took over the project in i951 At that time the project was in operation at the Watertown Arsenal,
The move to the
A contract was made with the National Lead Company
in 1954 to continue the operation.
a) The site-was used to develop methods of extracting uranium
from ore containing uranium,
strictly laboratory testing
In 1959 the facility changed over to -- methods development of environmental analysis related to uranium waste.
b) The dates of operation for this type of work were from 1952
c) The site was operated by American Cyanamid Company from the
time of erection for the Atomic Energy Commission in 1952 to 1954.
National Lead continued the operation from 1954 to 1961.
d) The contract number used by National Lead Company was (USAECContract
No. AT(49-6)-924). The contractors were
Institute of Technology, American Cyanamid Co. and National Lead Co.
3. A parcel of land containing 5.8 acres of land located in
a) The physical layout of the site consisted of a single floor
masonry building used for administrative and laboratory space, a
solvent storage building and a corrugated metal building for pilot
b) The site is intact and is being used by HEW/PHS/FDA/Winchester
Engineering and Analytical Center.
c) The site is about the same except for some renovations which
were made to facilitate work in low-level radiation studies in the
environment. Further modifications have been made to accommodate
various programs for EDRO that include the erection of two metal framed warehouses
d) No effect on any off-site locations.
4. The facility, built in 1952 with an Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)
appropriation, was transferred to the Dept. of HEW in 1961 and is
still operated by HEW.
5. a) It is assumed that prior to October, 1961 surveys were
conducted on-site to assure compliance with then applicable AEC
Standards for contamination and exposure limits during the work
of upgrading uranium ores. In October, 1961 HEW/PHS took over the lab from AEC and contamination surveys were performed in all those rooms where uranium ores and other materials were used. All areas were decontaminated, including two hoods and benches and all radioactive materials were disposed of through off-site commercial carriers. It was necessary to assure that most all removable contamination was eliminated because the laboratory became a low level environmental radiation surveillance laboratory in 1962.
Surveys have been conducted since under License 20-08361-01, to
assure compliance for contamination and exposure limits.
b) During a cleanup operation at this facility in 1960,
approximately fifty drums of low-grade uranium bearing ore was
emptied into a truck for disposal at the
This area is to be surveyed for radiation by DOE at the
request of City officials according to the local newspaper.
In 1961 most all the equipment in the building was moved out
by the Atomic Energy Commission. About eighty per cent of the
laboratory benches and hood remained in the building at the time of
transfer to HEW.
c) The laboratory at present operates under the same NRC License
20-08361-01 by the FDA and does environmental radiation surveillance
and analysis of radiopharmaceuticals. Surveys are conducted constantly
to assure compliance with NRC 10CFR20 regulations.
d) Materials shipped off-site to the
laboratory property do not present any radiological health problems.
Most of this material was natural radioactive materials from the ore
upgrading process and should not constitute any health hazard since
the amount disposed of, although unknown, was of minor volume.
e) As stated previously, all portions of the laboratory were cleaned
in 1961 to allow this to become low-level environmental radiation
January 25, 1977.
This was confirmed by an ERDA site visit on
Since it still has an NRC license, no formal procedures
have been taken to certify the site for release to the public.
6. The facility remains as an FDA field center and is being utilized
to carry out the objectives of FDA. The programs include radiopharmaceutical,
pharmaceutical, microwave research, electronic
product and x-ray and medical device testing, plus the radiological
environmental monitoring of food products.
Work performed by the Health and Safety Research Division
operated by UNION CARBIDE CORPORATION for the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY as part of the Formerly Utilized Sites--
Remedial Action Program
- ^_.. “- . .-
At the request of the Department of Energy (DOE, then ERDA), a
preliminary survey was performed at the former Winchester Engineering and
utilized under MED/AEC contract during the period about 1946 through 1960. John Taylor, Director of the Center, provided historical information about the site. Additionally, Neil Gaeta, the health physicist at the Center, was helpful in providing radiological information related to past and present-operations. Contract work at this facility was the result of developmental work in the concentration of uranium from ores, begun at MIT in
Present Use of Facilities
Presently, the facility is engaged in low-level radioanalytical
work under the Food and Drug Administration, Executive Director of
Regional Operations. Radioactive materials are currently handled under the provisions of Nuclear Regulatory Commission Licenses 20-08361-01 for by-product materials and SNM-688 for special nuclear materials. The Lab has done low-level radium-in-food analysis and is currently operating an in-vivo whole-body counter.
Prior to the takeover of this facility by DHEW, during the contract
period, a small deposit of residues from pitchblende ("a few wheelbarrow loads") was placed at the rear of the laboratory building and covered with soil and grass. Currently, this location is the site of an Environmental Protection Agency regional air-monitoring station.
was conducted by Caleb Kincaid from the Bureau of Radiological Health.]
Discussions with Kincaid revealed that the only radioactivity found at that time was limited to certain lab hoods. No record of that survey was available.
A comprehensive radiation safety program is currently conducted by
Neil Gaeta. He indicated that no problems exist that affect low background requirements of present activities resulting from former contract work or from the pitchblende residues located at the rear of the laboratory. Additionally, he stated that the hoods referred to by Kincaid have been removed.
Results of Preliminary Survey
The preliminary survey was conducted by M. T. Ryan and H. W. Dickson of the
alpha scintillation survey meter. The following maximum values were observed during the survey. Open-window Geiger-Mueller (G-M) survey meter (beta-gamma dose rate) was 0.2 mrad/hr at 1 cm from the surface; closed-window G-M survey meter
(gamma exposure rate) was 0.05 mR/hr at 1 cm from the surface; alpha radiation at contact to the surface was 500 dpm/lOO cm*.
It was concluded that no present or potential radiation-related
health hazard exists due to past MED/AEC operations inside buildings at this facility, and that no further DOE survey is required inside buildings at the Northeast Radiological Laboratory (the former Winchester Engineering and Analytical Center) in
pitchblende residues are believed to exist, some additional measurements in that area may be required.