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Winchester

WINCHESTER ENGINEERING AND ANALYTICAL CENTER

(NORTHEASTERN R ADIOLOGICAL HEALTH LABORATORY)

WINCHESTER, Massachusetts

 

 

FORMERLY UTILIZED SITES REMEDIAL ACTION PROGRAM

ELIMINATION REPORT

FOR

WINCHESTER ENGINEERING AND ANALYTICAL CENTER

(NORTHEASTERNR ADIOLOGICAL HEALTH LABORATORY)

WINCHESTER, Massachusetts

Department of Energy

Office of Nuclear Energy

Office of Remedial Action and Waste Technology

Division of Facility and Site Decommissioning Projects

 


ELIMINATION REPORT

 

WINCHESTER ENGINEERING AND ANALYTICAL CENTER

(NORTHEASTERN RADIOLOGICAL HEALTH LABORATORY)

WINCHESTER, MASSACHUSETTS

 

INTRODUCTION

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 Winchester Engineering and Analytical Center, Winchester, Massachusetts, and has completed a preliminary radiological survey at the site. DOE has determined that the facilities used by AEC have been adequately decontaminated within current radiological guidelines

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

Analytical Center facilities used for AEC work are in compliance with

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).

 

BACKGROUND

Site Function

The Winchester Engineering and Analytical Center, built in 1952

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 Cambridge, Massachusetts, and continued the work after it was transferred later that year to Watertown Arsenal, Watertown, Massachusetts. American Cyanamid Company succeeded MIT in operating the project at Watertown Arsenal from 1951 until October 1952, when it was transferred to the Winchester facility. In 1954, National Lead Company, Inc., took over operations under AEC contract AT(49-6)-924. Beginning in 1959, facility use shifted to laboratory testing of environmental analysis methods pertaining to uranium waste. In 1961, the work was discontinued, and the facility was transferred to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) for use as a low-level environmental radiation surveillance laboratory and for analysis of radiopharmaceuticals.

 

Site Description

The Winchester Engineering and Analytical Center, as the facility

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

Holton Street in Winchester, Massachusetts (see attached figure).

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 Woburn,

Massachusetts, for disposal.

When the Winchester site was transferred to HEW in 1961, a survey was conducted by the HEW Winchester Bureau of Radiological Health. All areas were decontaminated, and radioactive materials were disposed of through a commercial carrier. At the request of the Energy Research and Development

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 Winchester Engineering

and Analytical Center in Winchester, Massachusetts

 

In October 1979, the Woburn Landfill was surveyed by ORNL and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. No radiation above

background was detected.

 

ELIMINATION ANALYSIS

The Winchester facility is currently operating under Nuclear

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

Administration, 'Winchester Engineering & Analytical Center, 109

Holton Street, Winchester, Mass. 01890.


2. The development work for uranium from ores was begun by Massachusetts

Institute of Technology at Cambridge, Massachusetts in about 1946.

American Cyanamid Company took over the project in i951 At that time the project was in operation at the Watertown Arsenal, Watertown, Massachusetts.

 

The move to the Winchester facility was made in October, 1952.

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

to 1961.

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 Massachusetts

Institute of Technology, American Cyanamid Co. and National Lead Co.

3. A parcel of land containing 5.8 acres of land located in Winchester

and Woburn, Massachusetts, was purchased for the operation.

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

plant projects.

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 Woburn dump.

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 Woburn dump or buried on

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

surveillance laboratory.

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.

 


PRELIMINARY SURVEY OF

 

WINCHESTER ENGINEERING AND ANALYTICAL CENTER

Winchester, Massachusetts

Work performed by the Health and Safety Research Division

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

 

March 1980

OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LABORATORY

operated by UNION CARBIDE CORPORATION for the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY as part of the Formerly Utilized Sites--

Remedial Action Program

. .

- ^_.. “- . .-

THE FORMER WINCHESTER ENGINEERING AND ANALYTICAL CENTER

Winchester, Massachusetts

At the request of the Department of Energy (DOE, then ERDA), a

preliminary survey was performed at the former Winchester Engineering and Analytical Center, Winchester, Massachusetts on January 25, 1977, to assess the radio1 ogical status of this facility

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 Cambridge, Massachusetts, about 1946. The American Cyanamid Company took over the work at the site in 1949. In the early 195Os, a contract was made with the National Lead Company which continued development work in the preparation of metal grade UF, until about 1960. In 1961, the Public Health Service of Department of Health, Education and Welfare (DHEW) took over operation of the facility. The facility then became the Northeastern Radiological Health Laboratory.


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.

 


In 1961, prior to takeover of the facility, a radiological survey

 

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 Oak Ridge National Laboratory and W. T. Thornton of the Department of Energy-Oak Ridge Operations Office (then ERDA). The survey consisted of direct measurements of beta-gamma dose rate at 1 cm from surfaces and direct alpha measurements made at contact with surfaces using a portable

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 Winchester, Massachusetts. In the event that future plans at this facility involve the area where a minor quantity of

pitchblende residues are believed to exist, some additional measurements in that area may be required.

 

 

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