On September 30, 2009, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and New Jersey signed an Agreement authorizing the State to license and regulate byproduct, source, and certain special nuclear radioactive materials users. SMC has worked diligently with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to develop a Decommissioning Plan that safely and responsibly addresses residual radioactive material. The Plan was approved on January 9, 2017 by the NJDEP, which now has primary regulatory authority over the site. Since that time, SMC has been working to make necessary preparations for full implementation of the activities required by the plan.
Decommissioning Plan Overview
as excerpted from the NJDEP-approved plan
Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corporation (SMC) operated a specialty metals manufacturing facility at the Site. This facility manufactured specialty steel and super alloy additives, primary aluminum master alloys, metal carbides, powdered metals, and optical surfacing products. Raw materials used at the facility included ores which contain oxides of columbium (niobium), vanadium, aluminum metal, titanium metal, strontium metal, zirconium metal, and fluoride (titanium and boron) salts. During the manufacturing process, slag, dross, and baghouse dust were generated.
One of the materials received, used and stored by SMC contained radioactive material, which is classified as “source material” pursuant to Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 40. This material is called pyrochlore, a concentrated ore containing niobium (columbium). Pyrochlore contains greater than 0.05% of natural uranium and natural thorium. Therefore, it is licensable by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).
Because metallurgical operations with pyrochlore have permanently ceased, SMC must now decommission the facility. SMC has prepared, and the NJDEP has approved, a Decommissioning Plan that describes the remedial actions that will be implemented and the radiological release criteria that will be used by SMC to decommission the site. Once decommissioning is completed in accordance with the Decommissioning Plan, SMC will seek termination of the License.
The Decommissioning Plan outlines the process for removing radioactive materials from the Newfield site for off-site disposal outside of the State of New Jersey. In general, the decommissioning of the SMC facility will involve waste excavation, packaging, off-site disposal of radioactive materials via a rail spur to be constructed, implementation of site restoration activities, confirmation of the removal of radioactive materials, and placement of institutional and engineering controls resulting in the termination of the radiologic license by NJDEP.