Time Period: AWE 1958-1978; 1981-1982; Res. Rad. 1979-1980; 1983- 1997; DOE 1998-June 2010 (remediation)
Facility Type: Atomic Weapons Employer, Department of Energy
Facility Description: In 1958, General Electric constructed four hot cells for postirradiation examination of uranium fuel and irradiated reactor components. The U.S. Government’s involvement (through the Atomic Energy Commission and later, the Department of Energy) was limited to a single hot cell, Hot Cell No. 4. Between 1965 and 1967, Hot Cell No. 4 was decontaminated, equipped with a stainless steel liner to contain plutonium, and dedicated to the study of mixed oxide fuel rods in support of the Atomic Energy Commission’s fast breeder reactor development programs. In 1978, Hot Cell No. 4 was placed on standby; it was used by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for six months in 1981 and 1982.
During the period of residual contamination, as designated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and as noted in the dates above, employees of subsequent owners and operators of this facility are also covered under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act.
General Electric Vallecitos is listed as an Atomic Weapons Employer (AWE) site and as a Department of Energy (DOE) site under the EEOICPA.
As of 04/05/2015, the total compensation paid under Parts B and E of the EEOICPA, including medical compensation, for workers suffering from the effects of having worked at General Electric Vallecitos is $12,774,660.
General Electric Vallecitos Workers:
If you or your parent worked at this or any other AWE facility and became ill, you may be entitled to compensation of up to $400K plus medical benefits from the US Department of Labor. Call EEOICPA Counsel Hugh Stephens at 1-855-EEOICPA (336-4272) or fill out the form to the right, whether or not you have already filed a claim and even if your claim has been accepted or denied.
We can help with all OWCP (Federal Workers Compensation) claims, impairments, wage loss and health care. 2495 Main Street, Suite 442 Buffalo, NY.
Site Description and History:*
The Vallecitos Nuclear Center (VNC) is a 1,600‐acre nuclear research facility and the site of a former electricity-generating nuclear power plant located in Sunol, California, about 40 miles east of San Francisco.
General Electric (GE) Hitachi Nuclear Energy, an affiliate of the GE Company, owns the facility. The first commercially owned nuclear plant to supply power to the general public was operated at the site from 1957 until 1963. From 1965 through 1975, VNC was used to conduct research work for the Atomic Energy Commission’s (AEC) Nuclear Energy Program and the civilian nuclear power industry. AEC is a predecessor agency to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The research activities were also performed between 1981 and 1982. DOE contract work was subsequently discontinued. The facility is still used as a nuclear research center.
DOE and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy decontaminated and removed nuclear waste materials from a hot cell and a glove box used for government-sponsored research. The hot cell facility is a shielded, confined area used for remote work on radioactive materials. The decontaminated hot cell can be reused for research and other commercial nuclear work.
Waste removal from VNC began in September 2009 and was completed in 2010. Most of the nuclear waste generated from the decontamination work was transuranic waste (TRU) that consisted of clothing, tools, rags, debris, and other items contaminated with small amounts of radioactive TRU elements. The TRU waste was packaged and then shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico, for permanent disposal.