Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corporation

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1.0 Site Identification

Type of Site: Complex Decommissioning Site
Location: Newfield, NJ
License No.: NJ PI517488
Docket No.:  
License Status: Possession Only

2.0 Site Status Summary

The Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corporation (SMC) site is located in Newfield, New Jersey. Contamination is in the form of facility-generated slag and baghouse dust. The major contaminants are uranium and thorium, with daughters. The site is also on the NPL under CERCLA, because of past operations involving chromium-contaminated groundwater. In August 2001, SMC notified NRC that it had ceased production activities using source material. On August 27, 2001, the licensee provided notification and intent to decommission. The license was amended on November 4, 2002, to authorize only decommissioning activities that were previously permitted. The licensee submitted a revised license renewal application on May 1, 2003. At that time, the licensee estimated the cost of decommissioning to be approximately 1.8 million dollars.

The SMC facility manufactured specialty steel and super alloy additives, primary aluminum master alloys, metal carbides, powdered metals, and optical surfacing products. One of the raw materials that was used in its manufacturing processes from 1955 to 1998 is classified as "source material" under 10 CFR Part 40. This material, called pyrochlore, is a concentrated niobium ore containing greater than 0.05 percent natural uranium and natural thorium. SMC was licensed by the NRC to ship, receive, possess, use and store source material under SMB-743. During the manufacturing process, the facility generated slag, and baghouse dust. Currently, there is approximately 43,000 m3 (1,519,000 ft3) of slag and demolition debris and approximately 13,000 m3 (460,000 ft3) of baghouse dust contaminated with technologically enhanced uranium, thorium, and daughters stored on-site.

SMC submitted a DP on August 30, 2002, which was rejected by NRC staff, because of deficiencies. SMC submitted a revised DP in October 2005, which would leave material on site under a long-term control license, and which the NRC rejected in January 2006. The staff met with SMC in March 2006 to discuss the deficiencies in the DP and develop a path forward for submittal of an acceptable DP. The NRC staff and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) staff visited the site in April 2006 to discuss erosion control design. Pursuant to comments received at these interactions, SMC submitted a supplement to its DP in June 2006. The NRC staff completed its acceptance review of the supplement in September 2006 and determined that there is sufficient information to proceed with its technical review.  The NRC's technical review resulted in the issuance of over 70 Requests for Additional Information. SMC addressed the deficiencies and submitted a revised plan in August 2009. The NRC did not start a review of the plan because of the imminent Agreement with New Jersey. The Agreement became effective on September 30, 2009 and regulatory authority was transferred to the Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Environmental Radiation (BER).

SMC brought the transfer of their license to New Jersey to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The DC Circuit remanded authority to NRC in November of 2010. The NRC Commissioners subsequently voted to return authority to New Jersey. SMC appealed that decision and in December of 2012, the DC Circuit remanded authority back to NRC effective April 12, 2013. On August 5, 2013, the Commission reinstated New Jersey's authority to regulate SMC.

On October 1, 2013, SMC filed a Petition for Review to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.  The DC Circuit denied their appeal.  SMC met with staff of the DEP in January of 2015 to begin the process of submitting a decommissioning plan that will result in removal of the slag and baghouse dust and termination of their radioactive materials license.

New Jersey's regulations at N.J.A.C. 7:28-12 allow for restricted release.  In order for license termination, the site must be decommissioned to meet 15 mrem per year with engineering and institutional controls in place and 100 mrem per year should all controls fail.  Licensees have the option to meet the concentration values in the regulation at N.J.A.C. 7:28-12.9, or propose alternative standards using site specific parameters.  SMC and DEP staff worked cooperatively to reach consensus.  The final Decommissioning Plan, dated December 1, 2016 was approved on January 9, 2017. 

Decommissioning work plans are under review and shipment of waste will commence once construction of a railroad spur is completed in 2018. 

3.0 Major Technical or Regulatory Issues

Long operating history, originally licensed by AEC and later NRC, and significant time since shutdown to initiation of decommissioning.  The approved decommissioning plan submitted to the DEP commits to off-site disposal of the slag and baghouse dust.  The debris pile will remain on-site in a fenced area.  SMC developed alternate DCGLs for the facility area (limited restricted use) and the fenced area (restricted use).

Some off-site areas of the Hudson Branch remediation area, conducted under EPA oversight, contains residual radioactivity comingled with some soils intended for removal under the EPA Superfund Program.  These areas will be remediated to unrestricted release levels and excavation is anticipated to commence in 2018. 

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, March 09, 2021