ODH continues to collect air monitoring data at 19 locations around the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant site. Updated air sampling results are delayed while ODH completes a quality assurance review. Preliminary results continue to show low detections consistent with previous samples, that do not pose a public health concern. The quality assurance process is anticipated to be completed in September. Please note that air quality data for other non-radiological compounds is collected and posted by Ohio EPA at https://www.epa.state.oh.us/dapc/ams/amsmain/AMSSpecSam-DOE.
The U.S. Department of Energy has operated the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, located in Pike county just south of Piketon, Ohio, since construction began in 1952. The site enriched uranium for the military and, later, for the commercial power reactor fuel market. Enrichment operation ceased in 2001, and the site transitioned to the decommissioning phase in 2011, with the goal of turning the cleaned-up site to the community for economic redevelopment.
The Department of Energy has requirements to conduct environmental monitoring to demonstrate that radiological releases from the site do not exceed annual limits for radioactive material. Part of this environmental monitoring program involves ambient air sampling around the site perimeter for radionuclides of concern. Filters are collected weekly from several air sampling monitors and composited for a monthly sample at each location.
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Radiological Health and Safety program is currently operating 19 air samplers that have been co-located near the Department of Energy samplers around the perimeter of the site. The program is designed to independently sample and measure airborne radioactivity levels.
These air monitors will allow ODH to collect radiological environmental data during on-going site decommissioning operations. The samples will also serve as an independent verification of the PORTS air monitoring program.
ODH analytical results are compared with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) results to identify, investigate, and reconcile any differences in the identified radiological airborne concentrations.
ODH has contracted with an independent laboratory to perform the analysis of the air samples for the PORTS radionuclides of interest, which include:
· Technetium-99 (Tc-99)
· Thorium-228 (Th-228)
· Thorium-230 (Th-230)
· Thorium-232 (Th-232)
· Uranium -233 (U-233)
· Uranium-234 (U-234)
· Uranium-235 (U-235)
· Uranium-236 (U-236)
· Uranium-238 (U-238)
· Total Uranium
· Neptunium-237 (Np-237)
· Plutonium-238 (Pu-238)
· Plutonium-239/240 (Pu-239/240)
· Americium-241 (Am-241)
These radionuclides are being analyzed in the air samples because they represent radionuclides that were used or generated at the PORTS site.
ODH samples collected weekly are composited and sent to the laboratory for analysis at the end of each month. Samples from the first month of each calendar quarter are analyzed for each of the radionuclides of interest noted above. ODH is matching DOE protocols, and samples from the second
and third months are only analyzed for technetium-99 and the uranium isotopes. These are the predominant radionuclides on the site and are being measured. The remaining radionuclides are analyzed only in the first month because they are rarely detected.
· FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions to help the public better understand the data.
· Radiation Dose Comparison Chart – This chart provides relative dose comparison with other sources of radiation.
The verified air sampling data from ODH will be made available to the public on a monthly basis through the Innovate Ohio Platform (IOP).
About the data
April 16, 2021
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