Open house to address St. Louis low-level radioactive sites clean-up

Missouri

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – There is some low-level radioactive contamination in downtown and not St. Louis from the Manhattan Project. A virtual open house is being held tonight to address the clean-up progress at these sites. The Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program’s meeting will be held tonight from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

“Our team continues to make significant progress at the St. Louis Sites. It has certainly been a challenge during the pandemic, yet we remain committed to maintaining the high level of project delivery that this program is known for,” writes FUSRAP program manager Phil Moser.

The clean-up has a long history in the St. Louis area. You can see the history of the project from 1938 to the present here.

There are several St. Louis area sites that have been undergoing radioactive clean-up. Mallinckrodt Chemical Plant extracted uranium and radium near downtown St. Louis from 1942 to 1957.

There were also radioactive byproducts stored north of St. Louis Lambert International Airport until 1967. Some of the materials were moved to the Hazelwood Interim Storage Site and improperly stored. This allowed the spread of the material over routes near the airport.

The Dow Chemical Company in Madison, Illinois operated a uranium-extrusion facility in the late 1950s and early 1960s. This left contaminated dust on roof beams at the Madison Site.

Many of those sites have undergone extensive cleanup over several decades. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently remediating properties adjacent to Cold Water Creek. Residents who lived along the creek more recently may have an increased risk of lung cancer.

How dangerous are these sites? The US Corps of Engineers says the sites contain levels of radioactivity above current guidelines. But, none of them pose an immediate health risk to the public. There are low concentrations of the materials there and people are not exposed to them for a long time.

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