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4. MANUFACTURERS

4.1 List of DU Manufacturers

Present and past manufacturers of DU metal include (among others):

Present and past manufacturers of DU ammunition include (among others):

Past disposal practices at DU manufacturing sites contaminated sewers, soil, groundwater, and municipal water supply with DU and other harmful substances. Clean-up costs at the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant alone are estimated to $230 million [24].

4.2 Starmet Corp.

The largest defense contractor for DU penetrators is the Starmet Corp. (formerly Nuclear Metals) in Concord, Massachusetts. Uranium metal from depleted uranium hexafluoride is also produced at the site.

The company has been cited by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) many times for not analyzing soil, water, and air samples, for not posting radioactive signs, not surveying employee exposures, for contamination of buildings and personal property of employees, etc. Permits to bury radioactive waste in other states were revoked several times due to improper packaging, leaks and fires during transport, and high exposure to drivers [24].

Uranium dust contaminated the area around the plant and found its way into the groundwater. In October 1997, a $6.5 million cleanup of DU contamination at Starmet began, which will remove approximately 4,400 m3 of sludge and soil containing depleted uranium to the low-level radioactive waste dump in Clive, Utah [75].

4.3 US Army Materials Technology Laboratory

Between 1955-67, unspecified amount of DU was incinerated in pits at the US Army Materials Technology Laboratory in Watertown, Massachusetts. Of the two uranium oxides produced in burning, UO2 is water insoluble and U03 water soluble [52], [72], [85]. Uncontrolled DU fires also occurred inside the buildings when DU chips, that were temporarily stored in barrels, occasionally spontaneously ignited. The closest residential buildings were located 1000 - 1500 ft. away. Since 1967, DU chips had been burnt in an incinerator. High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters were not installed until 1981. By this time, the surrounding area was so contaminated with DU that the annual whole body dose equivalent for residents living 200 m (650 ft.) away was estimated to 200 mrem/year. Although the use of HEPA filters on the incinerator decreased air releases of particulates greater than 0.3 Ám in size, fine particulates continued to be emitted. The practice of burning DU chips continued until July 1992.

A review of the cancer incidence in the census tracts near the site showed significantly elevated thyroid cancer incidence in the census tract CT 3703. Yet the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) concluded in 1997 that the amount of depleted uranium released to air was unlikely to be at levels considered harmful to residents of the surrounding community. Few, if any, residents lived close enough to sites to have been exposed. Further, radiation dose estimates showed a lifetime cancer risk less than that expected from background radiation levels [52].

4.4 National Lead Industries

In 1979, air filters at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL) in Schenectady, New York were found to contain DU dust. The source of the DU particles were proved to be the National Lead Industries in Colonie, New York, located 10 miles away, which manufactured 30 mm DU rounds and DU counterweights for the US Air Force.

In February 1980, the New York State court forced the National Lead Industries to cease production of DU munitions because they regularly exceeded the NY State radioactivity limit of 150 ÁCi for airborne emissions in a given month. Considering only the a-activity, this limit corresponds to a monthly release of 0.38 kg (0.85 lb.) of depleted uranium dust, or a fully oxidized DU penetrator from just one 30 mm aircraft round. The 1980 survey by Teledyne Isotopes reported surrounding areas to be contaminated by DU up to 7 mg/kg.

The National Lead plant closed in 1983. In January 1984 the company sold the plant and the surrounding land to the Department of Energy (DOE) for $10. DOE agreed to pay the cost of decontamination as part of the deal [24], [54], [88].

4.5 Idaho National Engineering Laboratory

The Specific Manufacturing Capability Plant at Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) at Idaho Falls, Idaho produces armor for the M1A1 Abrams tanks [24].


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