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What was the Pinellas Plant?

English: Seal of the countyEnglish: Seal of the county (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



By THOMAS MICHALSKIArticle published on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008 Print E-Mail






What was the Pinellas Plant?
Photo by THOMAS MICHALSKIAn old tower that once was used by security officers still exists.




PINELLAS COUNTY – The Young–Rainey STAR Center that once was the highly classified Pinellas Plant is said to be America’s first successful conversion from a former U.S. Department of Energy facility to a commercial venture.

A U.S. government profile of Pinellas Plant was completed in October 2005 as a “living document,” meaning that it will be revised as new information is discovered.

The report, called NIOSH Dose Construction Project, is basically the bible used by health care professionals to reconstruct the possible radiation doses of employees. NIOSH stands for National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Between 1957 and 1992 GE developed neutron generators and other components for the nation’s nuclear weapons program. In 2001 Congress passed legislation to help former nuclear workers. Occupational doses of contaminants were “assigned” to workers, meaning that time and location within the facility was used to determine the amount of contamination suffered by workers.

The method used to determine radiation doses inside the body was urinalysis, and NIOSH said in a report that no significant environmental exposure was present.

The plant itself was divided into sections that included offices, assembly and testing, wastewater neutralization and chemical storage.

Radioactive material in a separate building, Area 100, was used for the production and testing of various weapons components. It was there that vacuum tube manufacturing and other work occurred.

Area 108 was the primary tritium handling section that included mass spectrometer analysis of gas samples and maintenance of spent uranium storage beds for use and disposal. Other areas contained testing, development, engineering and laboratory facilities.

In 1988, a task force conducted a survey of buildings to determine the extent of radiological contamination. A decontamination process was begun when closure of the plant was announced in the early 1990s. The plant’s liquid waste and exhaust ventilation systems were removed and shipped to the Savannah River Site, a nuclear materials processing center in South Carolina. Other contaminated materials were sent to Utah and reportedly elsewhere.

Before 1982, the government says, various wastes were processed by an on-site sewage treatment facility and mixed with neutralized waste in ponds that were on the property. Some liquids with high concentrations of tritium were buried off-site. Liquid from a pond in the eastern section of the property was discharged to a county drainage pipe and roadside ditch that drained into the Cross Bayou Canal and Tampa Bay, a report said.

Today the land is owned by Pinellas County and used by about 30 tenants, including several defense contractors.

Article published on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008

Copyright © Tampa Bay Newspapers: All rights reservedWhat was the Pinellas Plant?

By THOMAS MICHALSKIArticle published on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008 Print E-Mail







Photo by THOMAS MICHALSKIAn old tower that once was used by security officers still exists.




PINELLAS COUNTY – The Young–Rainey STAR Center that once was the highly classified Pinellas Plant is said to be America’s first successful conversion from a former U.S. Department of Energy facility to a commercial venture.

A U.S. government profile of Pinellas Plant was completed in October 2005 as a “living document,” meaning that it will be revised as new information is discovered.

The report, called NIOSH Dose Construction Project, is basically the bible used by health care professionals to reconstruct the possible radiation doses of employees. NIOSH stands for National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Between 1957 and 1992 GE developed neutron generators and other components for the nation’s nuclear weapons program. In 2001 Congress passed legislation to help former nuclear workers. Occupational doses of contaminants were “assigned” to workers, meaning that time and location within the facility was used to determine the amount of contamination suffered by workers.

The method used to determine radiation doses inside the body was urinalysis, and NIOSH said in a report that no significant environmental exposure was present.

The plant itself was divided into sections that included offices, assembly and testing, wastewater neutralization and chemical storage.

Radioactive material in a separate building, Area 100, was used for the production and testing of various weapons components. It was there that vacuum tube manufacturing and other work occurred.

Area 108 was the primary tritium handling section that included mass spectrometer analysis of gas samples and maintenance of spent uranium storage beds for use and disposal. Other areas contained testing, development, engineering and laboratory facilities.

In 1988, a task force conducted a survey of buildings to determine the extent of radiological contamination. A decontamination process was begun when closure of the plant was announced in the early 1990s. The plant’s liquid waste and exhaust ventilation systems were removed and shipped to the Savannah River Site, a nuclear materials processing center in South Carolina. Other contaminated materials were sent to Utah and reportedly elsewhere.

Before 1982, the government says, various wastes were processed by an on-site sewage treatment facility and mixed with neutralized waste in ponds that were on the property. Some liquids with high concentrations of tritium were buried off-site. Liquid from a pond in the eastern section of the property was discharged to a county drainage pipe and roadside ditch that drained into the Cross Bayou Canal and Tampa Bay, a report said.

Today the land is owned by Pinellas County and used by about 30 tenants, including several defense contractors.

Article published on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008

Copyright © Tampa Bay Newspapers: All rights reserved
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