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Also Known As: Tonawanda Laboratory (AWE portion of the plant), Linde Air, Praxair
State: New York
Location: Tonawanda
Time Period: AWE/DOE* 1942-1953;
Residual Radiation 1954-1987; 1993-1995; 1997-March 1, 2011;
DOE 1988-1992; 1996 (remediation)
Facility Type: Atomic Weapons Employer Department of Energy
 
Facility Description: The Linde Air Company performed uranium and nickel processing for the Manhattan Engineer District (MED) and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) at the Ceramics Plant in Tonawanda. African and Canadian ores were milled to black oxides at the plant. Documents indicate that the facility was placed on standby as of March 1, 1950. Linde’s contractual agreements with the AEC continued through 1953 for various activities relating to closing out work at the Tonawanda location. Linde was a part of Carbide and Carbon Chemical Corporation (C&CCC), which then became Union Carbide.
 
In 1980, Linde Ceramics was designated as part of the Formerly Utilized Site Remediation Action Program (FUSRAP) and work under this program was performed during 1988-1992, and then again in 1996. The 1996 work was performed under the Bechtel National Inc. umbrella contract for DOE environmental site remediation.
 
*Buildings 30,31,37 and 38 of the Linde Ceramics Plant meet the definition of a DOE facility for the years 1942 through 1953. This means that employees who worked in these buildings during these years are eligible under both Part B and E of the EEOICPA.
 
The Tonawanda Laboratory, which is also known as Building 14, meets the definition of an AWE for the years 1942-1953. Under the EEOICPA, employees of AWE facilities are not eligible under Part E of the EEOICPA.
 
Listing:
Linde Ceramics Plant is listed as an Atomic Weapons Employer (AWE) site from 1942-87, 1993-95, and 1997-2009, and as a Department of Energy (DOE) site from 1988-92 and 1996.
 
Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) Classes:
Atomic weapons employees who worked at the Linde Ceramic Plant from October 1, 1942, through October 31, 1947, and who were employed for a number of work days aggregating at least 250 work days, either solely under this employment or in combination with work days of employment occurring within the parameters (excluding aggregate work day requirements) established for other classes of employees included in the SEC
 
All Atomic Weapons Employees who worked at the Linde Ceramics Plant in Tonawanda, New York, from January 1, 1954 through December 31, 1969, 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 SEC.
 
All Atomic Weapons Employees who worked in any area at the Linde Ceramics Plant in Tonawanda, New York, from November 1, 1947, through December 31, 1953, 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 included in the SEC.
 
Compensation:
As of 08/16/2015, 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 Linde Ceramics Plant is $52,309,458.
 
Linde Ceramics Plant Workers:
If you or your parent worked at this or any other DOE or 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 14214.
 
NIOSH site profile:
SPECIAL EXPOSURE COHORT PETITION INFORMATION FOR LINDE
October 1, 1942, through October 31, 1947
NIOSH has determined, and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has concurred, that it is not feasible to reconstruct internal radiation dose for (Leavitt 2005): Atomic Weapons Employees who worked at the Linde Ceramics Plant from October 1, 1942, through October 31, 1947, and who were employed for a number of work days aggregating at least 250 work days either solely under this employment or in combination with work days occurring within the parameters (excluding aggregate work day requirements) established for other classes of employees included in the SEC [Special Exposure Cohort].
 
Subsequent correspondence (Elliott 2006) confirmed that the Tonawanda Laboratory (as well as all other buildings on the Linde site) are included in this SEC class designation. Reconstruction of external exposure (including medical X-ray examinations) has been determined to be feasible (Leavitt 2005).
 
For any claim referred to NIOSH regarding an employee,
•who was employed during the SEC class period but because of limited employment during this period is not a member of the SEC, or
•who is a member of the SEC class and whose cancer is not defined as a specified cancer under EEOICPA (and so is not eligible for compensation under EEOICPA without a dose reconstruction),
 
NIOSH will continue to attempt to complete a dose reconstruction for the exposure period based solely on external and medical X-ray radiation sources. However, because of the SEC class determination that it is infeasible to adequately reconstruct internal dose during the period from October 1, 1942, through October 31, 1947 (Leavitt 2005), dose estimates for this period are considered partial dose estimates.
 
January 1, 1954, through December 31, 1969
NIOSH has determined, with concurrence from the Secretary of DHHS (Sebelius 2011), that internal doses at the Linde Ceramic Plant cannot be reconstructed with sufficient accuracy from the beginning of 1954 through the end of 1969. For this reason, the following class of Linde employees has been added to the SEC (Sebelius 2011):
 
All Atomic Weapons Employees who worked at the Linde Ceramics Plant in Tonawanda, New York, from January 1, 1954, through December 31, 1969, 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.
 
This SEC class includes all workers during the SEC class period. Because of the identified dose reconstruction infeasibility, all dose reconstructions for all workers having employment during the SEC class period are considered partial dose reconstructions. If monitoring data are available for workers included in the SEC class, dose is to be assigned as appropriate based on such data; however, such dose reconstructions are still considered partial dose reconstructions because NIOSH has determined that internal exposures during the SEC class period cannot be bounded.
 
SITE DESCRIPTION AND OPERATIONAL HISTORY
When the U.S. government and its contractors first became interested in uranium, LAPC, then a division of Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation, operated Tonawanda Laboratory, which had been producingU3O8 that was sold as a coloring agent for ceramics. Because of the great interest in obtaining uranium that could be used to create experimental uranium piles, Linde was contracted to develop uranium chemical processes and build a facility that could process large amounts of uranium ore. This commissioned facility was called the Linde Ceramics Plant. The plant worked with two types of radioactive material:

  • • Refined uranium materials and preprocessed (partially refined) domestic ores, and
  • • Unprocessed African ores.

 
Processing of the African ores involved exposures to significantly higher levels of 230Th, 226Ra, and 222Rn. In the other materials, the initial refining process probably removed most nonuranium radionuclides. Due to the long half-lives of 230Th and 231Pa, significant ingrowth of these nuclides and their progeny in the 238U and 235U decay chains did not occur in the interval between the refining of the materials and their processing at Linde.
 
LAPC performed work for the Manhattan Engineer District (MED) and its successor the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) between 1942 and 1949. Tonawanda Laboratory performed research and development (R&D) on uranium processing for the MED beginning in late 1942 and probably ending in 1946. In the early years, it operated pilot plants to develop procedures for the Ceramics Plant. The Ceramics Plant produced uranium materials for the MED and AEC from 1943 to 1946 and from 1947 to 1949. From 1947 to 1949 (and perhaps earlier), Linde received UO2 for processing from Mallinckrodt Chemical Works (AEC 1949a). The plant also produced nickel material for the K-25 diffusion barrier. The Ceramics Plant was in standby from mid-1946 to late 1947. The end of production in 1949 was followed by cleanup and decontamination and then turnover of the production facilities back to Linde. This turnover probably occurred in 1954. Uranium processing at the Ceramics Plant involved three steps:

  • • Step I, conversion of ore to U3O8 (black oxide);
  • • Step II, conversion of U3O8 to UO3 (orange oxide) as an intermediary product and then to UO2 (brown oxide);
  • • Step III, conversion of UO2 to UF4 (green salt). The following sections provide more detailed histories of Linde facilities, radiation sources, and processes that related to MED/AEC radiation exposures. Key dates are noted in Table 2-1.

 
FACILITIES
The Linde Ceramics Plant and Tonawanda Laboratory were on land that was owned by Union Carbide at East Park Drive and Woodward Avenue in Tonawanda, New York (ORNL 1978, Fig. 3). The site is near the intersection of Riverview Boulevard and Woodward Avenue. It is north of Woodward Avenue, east of East Park Drive, and west of the Conrail railroad tracks. Tonawanda site buildings that were involved in MED/AEC work are shown in Figure 2-1. The Tonawanda Laboratory occupied Building 14, and the Ceramics Plant used Buildings 30, 31, 37, 38, and A. Building B contained MED offices. Ownership of the Ceramics Plant buildings was transferred to LAPC after the site cleanup that began with the shutdown of production in 1949. The transfer probably was completed in 1954. In the 1990s, the site was acquired by Praxair (USACE 2003).
 
Buildings A and B
Building A was the Linde Ceramics Plant office building for administrative and support personnel. During the MED years, Building B housed the Tonawanda Area Engineer office of the MED (Dupree 1983a) and probably was later used by AEC personnel. The designations A and B were adopted for this document and might be different from the official Linde or MED designations. Buildings A and B were no longer standing in 1978, when the results of a 1976 radiological survey were issued by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL 1978). Figure 2-1 is based on Figures 3-1 and B-11 of BNI (1982), Figure 3 of Frame et al. (1981), and LAPC (1945a).
 
A shelter in which workers were allowed to smoke was at the south end of Building B (Dupree 1983a). This was probably for use only by office workers. A separate smoking shelter was provided for production workers (Klevin 1949a, data sheets 543 and 546).
 
 Table 2-1. Key dates.

Assumed date or period a
Event or activity
Ceramics Plant 06/01/1943–07/31/1946 b Step I production (U3O8 from ore or sludge)
06/01/1943–11/30/1943 Preprocessed ores (domestic and scrap)
12/01/1943–11/12/1944 African ores
11/13/1944–01/31/1946 Preprocessed domestic ores
02/01/1946–02/28/1946 African ores (48%) and preprocessed domestic ores (52%)
03/01/1946–06/30/1946 African ores
07/01/1946–07/31/194604/27/1943–03/08/1944 c07/25/1943–06/26/1946 d African ores and preprocessed ash Step II production (UO2 from U3O8)Step III production (UF4 from UO2)
08/01/1946–09/14/194709/15/1947–10/31/1947 e11/01/1947–06/30/1949 f10/01/1944–02/28/1946 g07/01/1949–03/31/1950 h07/01/1949–12/31/1954 i Stand by Step III rehabilitation Step III productionProduction of nickel material for K-25 diffusion barrierCleanup of Building 30Cleanup of Linde Ceramics Buildings
Before 1978 Demolition of Buildings A and B (office buildings on Figure 2-1)
After 195408/31/1981 j08/31/1996 j09/05/1998 k09/30/2000 l Postcleanup period Demolition of Building 37 began Demolition of Building 38 began Demolition of Building 30 beganSoil remediation began (scheduled for completion in 2007)
Tonawanda Laboratory 10/01/1942–07/31/1946 l08/01/1946–12/31/1946 m MED-related R&D operations Cleanup period
Assumed date or period Event or activity
After 1947 Postcleanup period
 04/30/2004 j Demolition of Building 14 began

 

a. Unless more precise information was available, activities were assumed to begin on the first day of the start month and to end on the last day of the completion month in the data source, and demolition activities were assumed to begin on the last day of the start month in the data source.
 
b. All Step I dates and data are based on Table B-1 of Wallo, Vierzba, and Roberts (1981) except for the

November 1944 transition date from African to domestic ore. The date was determined from analysis of Step I
film badge data (see Section 4.1.3.2).
c. LAPC (1946a, p. 40).
d. LAPC (1946b, p. 42).
e. Start date based on Kent (1947, p. 1).
f. Start date based on Rennich (1947). End date based on Heatherton (1948a).
g. Hickey, Crawford-Brown, and Tankersley (1988, Figure 13, p. 2).
h. Start date assumed to be day after end of Step III production; end date estimated based on Eisenbud (1950).
i. Start date assumed to be day after end of Step III production; end date estimated based on Harris (1954).
j. Pilon (2004).
k. USACE (1998).
l. Start date based on Jenness and Ewing (1943). End date assumed to be the end date of 1943 to 1946
production at the Ceramics Plant.
m. Start date based on estimated end date of R&D period; end date estimated.
 
*Site Characteristics and Uses:
The Linde Site comprises about 135 acres located at 175 East Park Drive (off Sheridan Drive) in the Town of Tonawanda, New York. The Site Location Map is illustrated in Figure II-1. The Linde Site is bounded on the north and south by other industrial properties and small businesses, on the east by CSX Corporation (CSX) railroad tracks and National Grid property and easements, and on the west by a park owned by Praxair, Inc. A low-density residential area and an elementary school lie west of the park. The Site Plan is illustrated in Figure III-1, an aerial photograph of the Linde Site taken in April 2009.
 
The property contains office buildings, fabrication facilities, warehouse storage areas, material laydown areas, and parking lots with access to the property controlled by Praxair, Inc. The property is underlain by a series of utility tunnels that interconnect some of the main buildings and by an extensive network of storm and sanitary sewers. Public water and sanitary sewer services are provided to the property. The cleanup criteria proposed by USACE was developed toprovide for an acceptable level of protection in accordance with CERCLA and was based on an industrial exposure scenario, which is the most likely future land use.
 
Land uses in close proximity to the property include the CSX property, commercial and residential areas, and Kenmore Sisters of Mercy Hospital to the east; small businesses, light industries, and residential areas to the north; business and industrial areas to the south; and a low-density residential area and Holmes Elementary School to the west. Sheridan Park, owned by the Town of Tonawanda’s Parks and Recreation Department, is located a quarter mile to the northwest of the property. Two Mile Creek flows through this property.
 
Recreational uses near the property include an 18-hole public golf course, picnicking, and playgrounds. Sensitive uses within one mile of the Linde property include five schools, two community buildings, and a senior citizens’ center. The Linde property is fenced and has a buffer zone of grass and trees around the main buildings.
 
Site History and Contaminants:
During the early to mid-1940s, portions of the property formerly owned by Linde Air Products Corp., a subsidiary of Union Carbide Industrial Gas, now owned by Praxair, Inc., were used for the separation of uranium ores. These processing activities, conducted under MED contracts, resulted in radioactive contamination of portions of the property and buildings. A radiological survey report prepared for the Linde Site by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in 1978 reported that uranium dioxide was separated from uranium ores and uranium dioxide was converted to uranium tetrafluoride at the site between 1940 and 1948. The 1978 ORNL report also stated that the Linde Air Products Division was under contract to MED to perform uranium separations from 1940 through approximately 1948.
 
As described in the RI report for the Tonawanda Sites (DOE 1993), five (5) Linde buildings were involved in MED activities: Building 14 (built by Union Carbide in the mid-1930s) and Buildings 30, 31, 37, and 38 (built by MED on land owned by Union Carbide). Ownership of Buildings 30, 31, 37, and 38 was transferred to Linde when the MED contract was terminated. As discussed in the RI report, there were three phases to the processing conducted at the Linde Site as follows:
 
• Phase 1: uranium separation from the ore, which consisted of separating triuranium octoxide (U3O8) from the feedstock materials by a series of process steps consisting of acid digestion, precipitation, and filtration.
 
• Phase 2: conversion of U3O8 to uranium dioxide
 
• Phase 3: conversion of uranium dioxide to uranium tetrafluoride
 
The RI report states that the contaminants of concern at the Linde Site were primarily associated with the waste streams and residues of the Phase 1 operation and that any residues from the Phase 2 and 3 operations were reprocessed. The primary activity was the separation of uranium from the ore, and the principal contaminants of concern (COCs) were from the processing of wastes and residues from Phase I processing.
 
Under the MED contract, uranium ores from seven different sources were processed at Linde: four African ores (three low-grade pitchblendes and torbernite) and three domestic ores (carnotite from Colorado). The domestic ore tailings sent to Linde resulted from commercial processing, conducted primarily in the Western United States, to remove vanadium. The vanadium removal process resulted in disruption of the uranium decay chain and the removal of radium. For this reason, uranium supplied to Linde had low concentrations of radium compared with the natural uranium (U) and thorium-230 (Th-230) concentrations.
 
The African ores shipped to Linde as unprocessed mining ores contained uranium in equilibrium with all of the daughter products in its decay chain (e.g., Th-230 and radium-226 [Ra-226]). The other constituents of the ores were similar to those of the domestic ores. From mid-1943 to mid-1946, approximately 28,000 tons of ore was processed at the Linde Site.
 
The principal solid waste resulting from Phase 1 processing was a solid, gelatinous filter cake consisting of impurities remaining after filtration of the uranium carbonate solutions. Phase 1 processing also produced insoluble precipitates of the dissolved constituents, which were combined with the tailings. The precipitated species included large quantities of silicon dioxide, iron hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, calcium carbonate, aluminum hydroxide, lead sulfate, lead vanadate, barium sulfate, barium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide, magnesium carbonate, and iron complexes of vanadium and phosphorus. COCs that impacted soils and buildings and posed an unacceptable risk to human health and the environment under an industrial scenario (including construction and utility workers) were identified as radium, thorium, and uranium, specifically:
 
• Ra-226
 
• Th-230
 
• Total uranium (Utotal )
 
linde_site_location_map
 
linde_site_plan
 
*Source
 
 
DOCUMENTS:
 
NIOSH SEC Petition Evaluation Reports
Petition 44 (Oct 1, 1942 to Oct 31, 1947)
SEC Petition Evaluation Report, Petition SEC-00044, Report Rev # 0
Report Submittal Date: 10-12-2005

 
Petition 107 (Jan 1, 1954 to Jul 31, 2006)
SEC Petition Evaluation Report, Petition SEC-00107, Report Rev #: 1
Report Submittal Date: January 28, 2011

 
Petition 112 (Jan 1, 1954 to Jul 31, 2006)
Merged with Petition 107
 
Petition 127 (Jan 1, 1954 to Jul 31, 2006)
Merged with Petition 107
 
Petition 154 (Nov 1, 1947 to Dec 31, 1953)
SEC Petition Evaluation Report, Petition SEC-00154, Report Rev #: 1
Report Submittal Date: November 22, 2011

 
Technical Basis Documents
An Exposure Matrix for Linde Ceramics (Including Tonawanda Laboratory)
Effective Date: 05/08/2015 Plant

 
SC&A
Draft: Review of Linde Ceramics Plant Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) Petition 00154 and the NIOSH SEC Petition Evaluation Report
Review of the Linde Ceramics Plant Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) Petition 00154 and the NIOSH SEC Petition Evaluation Report, Contract No. 200-2009-28555, SCA-TR-SEC2011-0006, July 2011
 
DCAS-PER-042, SUBTASK 4: REVIEW OF IMPACTED CASES REWORKED FOR THE EVALUATION OF DOSES FROM REVISED TBD FOR THE LINDE CERAMICS PLANT
December 2014