State: New York
Time Period: 1949-1952
Facility Type: Atomic Weapons Employer
Facility Description: In 1949, Bethlehem Steel of Lackawanna, New York developed improved rolling mill pass schedules for uranium billets into 1.5- inch rods to be used for reactor fuel rods to later be used at the Fernald plant. Bethlehem also performed uranium rolling experiments to help design the Fernald rolling mill.
Bethlehem Steel Company is listed as an Atomic Weapons Employer (AWE) site under the EEOICPA.
Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) Classes:
The SEC classes for Bethlehem Steel include:
All Atomic Weapons Employer employees who worked at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation facility in Lackawanna, New York from January 1, 1949 to December 31, 1952, for a number of work days aggregating at least 250 work days, occurring either solely under this employment or in combination with work days within the parameters established for one or more other classes of employees in the Special Exposure Cohort.
Job Titles and/or Job Duties in the SEC class include:
Millwrights, welders, electricians, bricklayers, carpenters, all maintenance, testers, rollers, supervisors, crane operators, hookers, clean-up crews, grinders.
Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna, New York was formed in 1922 by a merger between two steel-producing companies – Lackawanna Steel, located in Western New York, and Bethlehem Steel in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The location in Lackawanna was advantageous because of the easy access to Great Lakes shipping and numerous rail lines. Bethlehem Steel became a major supplier of armor plate and ordnance during WWII and in peacetime supplied a variety of structural shapes of steel used in construction.
From January 1, 1949 until December 31,1952, the Lackawanna plant of Bethlehem Steel had a contract with the United States Federal government to roll uranium fuel rods for nuclear reactors. Uranium rolling was carried out in the Ten Inch Bar Mill and Blooming Mill. Workers were unaware of the dangers associated with rolling the heavy metals and were not provided with any protective equipment. Exposure affected many job titles of people working in the Ten Inch Bar Mill and Blooming Mill including millwrights, welders, electricians, bricklayers, carpenters, maintenance, rollers, supervisors, crane operators, hookers, clean-up crews, and grinders.
As of 08/16/2015, the total compensation paid under Part B of the EEOICPA, including medical compensation, for workers suffering from the effects of having worked at Bethlehem Steel is $232,996,976.
Bethlehem Steel 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 $150K 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 filed a claim and even if it has already 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.
In 1949, AEC contracted with Bethlehem Steel Corporation to develop mill pass schedules for the rolling of natural uranium billets into l-l/2 inch rods to be used for reactor fuel rods. This work was conducted under contracts AT(30-1)-1279 and AT(30-1)-1156 (subcontract with National Lead of Ohio). All work was limited to weekends and involved only the 10-inch bar mill and associated billet preparation and handling equipment. Shipments of uranium billets were received from Mallinckrodt Chemical Company, St. Louis, Missouri,during the week and stored at the mill in rail cars. Following rolling, the material was bundled and returned to AEC. Material accountability procedures required collection of scale, residues, and cropped ends and vacuum cleaning of fine debris for return to AEC. AEC personnel were present during all rolling operations and apparently made radiological surveys and monitored Bethlehem Steel personnel. The project was completed in 1952. The data developed were used in the design of a rolling mill at the Feed Materials Production Center in Fernald, Ohio.
The facilities owned and operated by Bethelehem Steel are located in Lackawanna, New York (see Figure 1). The 10-inch mill was in use for metal rolling operations during the August 1976 radiological screening survey, but has since been taken out of service and dismantled. Ancillary equipment, other than some rolls thought to have been used for uranium work, could not be located.
SEC Petition Evaluation Report
Petition 56 (Jan 1, 1949 to Dec 31, 1952) – SEC Petition Evaluation Report – Petition SEC-00056 – Report Rev # 0
Report Submittal Date: 2/20/2007
Technical Basis Document(TBD)
Basis for Development of an Exposure Matrix for Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Lackawanna, New York;
Period of Operation: 1949-1952
Review of NIOSH Site Profile for Bethlehem Steel Plant, Lackawanna, NY October 2004
State: New York