Solvay USA, Inc. (State of Texas)

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1.0 Site Identification

Type of Site: Complex Materials
Location: Freeport, TX
License No.: L02807
Docket No.:
License Status: Active

2.0 Site Status Summary

The Solvay USA Inc. Rare Earth Processing Facility is in active decommissioning.  This site is a separate part of the larger chemical manufacturing facility at that location.  The area of the licensed site undergoing decommissioning is approximately 17 acres.

The licensee operated as a plant for the production of separating rare earth hydroxides and nitrates with the potential to process approximately 4,000 metric tons per year of rare earth oxides.  During the course of processing, thorium, uranium and subsequent decay products were removed from the ore material.  The decay products either entered the waste stream, or were made into other products (i.e. uranyl nitrate).  The last unit ceased operating in 2005 and was held in standby for potential future operations.

The predominant radionuclide of concern is Thorium-232.  The decommissioning plan for the site was submitted on July 10, 2015, and approved on September 1, 2015.

The decommissioning criteria for free release is dose based, at 25 mrem/yr.

3.0 Major Technical or Regulatory Issues

Most of the building structures have been removed.  The cleanup of the fire retention ponds has had delays due to weather.  The depth of the fire retention pond cleanup is below the water table after significant rains and fills up with water.  Freeport is located on the Gulf Coast and is subject to frequent heavy rains.  Due to weather-related delays, the updated estimated date for closure has been extended to August 2019.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, March 09, 2021