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A Decade Long Decommissioning Effort Results in the Termination of the NRC License for the ABB Winsor Site
Posted on October 8th, 2013

The NRC has issued the final license termination for the NRC license 06-00217-06 formerly held by the ABB, Inc. (ABB) complex materials site located in Windsor in north central Connecticut. The site was originally owned by Combustion Engineering, Inc. (CE). Although CE was acquired by ABB in 1990, the site is still referred to as the CE Windsor site. The CE Windsor site consisted of soils, buildings, and equipment that were contaminated with uranium and by-product material from operations that occurred from the 1950s until 2001. The site was used to manufacture commercial and U.S. Navy nuclear fuels and, at various times, was used to conduct and support research and development. Activities at the site started in 1955 with an Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) contract to begin research, development, and manufacturing of nuclear fuel for the U.S. Navy. These activities included the construction, testing, and operation of a U.S. Naval test reactor.

The CE Windsor site is 243 ha [600 ac] located in Windsor, Connecticut, approximately 13 km [8 mi] north of Hartford, Connecticut. The site is generally surrounded by heavily wooded sections and agricultural land. It is bounded by the Farmington River to the northwest; a landfill and recycling center to the north; forests, housing, and commercial developments to the east; agricultural and commercial land to the south; and a sand and gravel quarry to the west.

In addition to the fuel fabrication building and the nuclear manufacturing warehouse used for nuclear fuel manufacturing, the CE Windsor site included nuclear laboratories with approximately 5575 m² [60,000 ft²] of floor space, a nuclear test building with 1395 m² [15,000 ft²] of floor space, the Kreisinger development laboratory with 5575 m² [60,000 ft²] of floor space, a storage building, and three ponds: Great Pond, Small Pond, and Goodwin Pond.

ABB submitted a site-wide decommissioning plan (DP) and DP Revision 1 in 2003. The fuel fabrication building, the nuclear test building, and the nuclear laboratories were remediated in 2005 and contaminated materials were shipped to a licensed disposal facility. Final status survey reports (FSSRs) were submitted by ABB to the NRC during 2005-2007. Confirmatory surveys by ORISE and NRC were completed in 2008; and the NRC approved a partial site release in January 2009 for 365 acres of the site. A public meeting was held in Windsor in March 2009 to discuss the partial site release and future NRC oversight activities for the Windsor site.

In January 2008, ABB submitted a revision to DP Rev. 1 that detailed the proposed decommissioning activities for the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) areas.  ABB revised this DP to incorporate additional information requested by the NRC, resubmitted it in December 2008, and was approved by the NRC in July 2009. This DP Rev. 1 authorized ABB to conduct remediation for the remainder of the impacted areas of the site, including FUSRAP areas, except for the site brook and debris piles. ABB submitted DP Rev. 2 in February 2010 that contained information for decommissioning the site brook and debris piles. It also included site-specific derived concentration guideline levels for thorium and radium. An Environmental Assessment and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for DP Rev. 2 was published in the Federal Register in May 2011. DP Rev. 2 was approved by the NRC in June 2011. 

Site remediation work for the remainder of the facility was completed in December 2011. A total of seven FSSRs were submitted to the NRC by ABB from July 2011 through May 2012. On September 9, 2013, the NRC completed its review and formally terminated the site radioactive materials license.

Since 2006, RSCS participated on the team of contractors for this decommissioning project.  RSCS provided junior and senior health physics technicians who provided for several radiological control functions, including contamination control, area posting, area radiological monitoring, radiological release of materials, surface surveys for radiological characterization, radiological exposure tracking, routine radiological surveys of structures, equipment, laboratories and work areas, and final status surveys and documentation.  RSCS also provided health physics professionals to audit the Radiation Protection Program under which decommissioning activities were performed, and to coordinate functions related to packaging and controlling the release of radioactive waste. 

The ABB Radioactive Materials License 06-00217-06 was officially terminated 9/9/13 by the NRC.   Surveys performed by RSCS were compiled into Final Status Survey Reports that were submitted in support of this termination, and resulted in the following NRC finding:

"the NRC staff has determined, in accordance with 10 CFR 30.36(k), that: (1) licensed material has been properly disposed; (2) reasonable effort has been made to eliminate residual radioactive contamination; (3) ABB has submitted site radiological survey and other information that demonstrates that the site is suitable for release in accordance with the criteria for decommissioning in 10 CFR Part 20, Subpart E; and (4) records required by 30.51(d) and 30.51(f) have been received by the NRC.  Therefore, the NRC has determined that the site is suitable for release for unrestricted use." 

For more information on the ABB Winsor Site, and the License Termination, please click the links below.

Information on the Remediation Program at the ABB Windsor Site

Release of the ABB Winsor Site and Termination of License Notification

License Termination Record

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