1959-04-11 – AEC – Manhattan Project – History of the St Louis Airport Site

1959-04-11 - AEC - Manhattan Project - History of the St Louis Airport Site

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· General In!omation
‘nle Cormnieeion maintains a residue storage area known as the Airport Site at Robertecn,
. Miseouri. 1hie site is located irranediately north or the St. Louie Municipal Airport
and east of the McD:>nnell Aircraft Corporation Plant on Brown Road in St. Louis County.
Consent to use and occupy the 21. 7 acre tract vas obtained by the Manhattan Di.striot
on March 2, 1946. title vaa acquired to the properiy” on January 31 1947 b7 oond4111nation
proceedings for ‘20,000. It was acquired for the purpose or storing residues !rom the
Destrehan Street Refinery and the Metal Plant at Plant 4. A covered co12arete storage
pad 16′ x 2501 was Qonetructed tor storing drums. A concrete pit 202′ x L2′ x 161 vaa
constructed to store radium bearing re8idues (K-6’). ‘lhe area was enclosed vi.th a chainlink
fence. Later a small blilding containing showers, change room and office epaoe was
moved to the site. A railroad siding· and loading facilities were completed in April 1959
The eite was operated by the Manhattan District and the Cononission .f’rom l 9U6 until July
1953 when the operation ·was turned over to Mallinckrodt Chemical Works. Guards were
maintained at the site from 1946 to 1951.
1 In the Metal Pl.ant at Pl.ant 4 nnd later in the new Metal Pl.ant at Destrehan Street ( 6E),
the slag from the reduction step was separated into two parts. The slag !mmediately
‘ above the derby consisting mainly· of MgF2 was sent to the Vitro Corporation at CanonsrurE
Pa., .f’or uranium recovery. ‘!he renaining slag (C-Liner), consisting mainly of dolomite
liner with leas than 2% uranium content, was stored at the site’ in bulk on the ground.
These ehipments started on March 10, 1946 and continued until early in 1 953 when the
dolomite liner was replaced by a recycle MgF2 liner.
‘lhe Deetreban Refinery started up in 1946 and continued to use pitchblende ores ~ a fee(
until eaTl7 in 1955, The contract to purchase these ores vi th African Metals Corporatj.or.
required the U. 8. to store the ra!finate (A.M-7), containing metallics such as nickel,
cobalt, and copper, and radium bearing r esidues (K-65). Af’rlcan Metals retained ownership
of all material except the uraniUll\ content. Although other concentrates were processed
during the period, the ra.ffinates were not e eparated. ‘Ibey vere stored in bulk
on the ground at the site. The pit constructed to store the radium bearing residue
(K-65) vae not used due to health reasoNS. This residue (K-65) was stored at the site
from 1946 until early in 1948 in drums. ‘!his was transferred to the Lake Ontario storag1
area in 1948 and 1949 after most of the material had’ been reworked to reoover additional
uranium values. ‘lbe ra!finate (AM-10) produced after the pitchblende ores vere used was
stored separately. A barium cake residue (AJ-4) produced by 1the refinery ie also stored
at the sit~. ‘?his residue is a result of a precipitation to reduce sulphate content or
digest liquor. African Metals Corporation has r elinquished! owner~hip of the bariUll cake,
In 1955 an interim residue plant vas constructed at the Destrehan Street si ta to scalp
a major portion of the u.ranium content from the maghesiUJll ~luoride sl.a.g produced in the
Metal Plant. Tailings from thie operation were stored in the concrete pit at the site.
About 350 torus of the pitchblende raffinate (AM-T) were proeessed in a small pilot plant
facility at Destrehan Street to recover ionium. ‘Ihis material wae processed in 1955-195~
and returned to the original r affinate storage at the site.
Plans for Disposition of the Abov·e Material
Interim residue plant tailings are presently being shipped to Fernald and ‘are being processed
t’or urariium recovery at a rate of 200 tons per month. It is planned to increase
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thi.e rate to about 600 tons p81’ montH in July 19)9. Atter this 111atenal hae been con-
. “8amed at .Fernald, the slag CC-Liner} will be act to Fernald toro proo•sing.
Ot the ~s.ooo 30- and SO-gallon drwne 1t0red at the •ite, appztoxlllatel.7 101000 30-pllon
drum• u~ being aold. ‘!be r.Undel’ are unsaleable and will probabl.7 have to be baled
and sold a• 1onp metal, to1ethel’ With the 3,Soo tone ot other contaminated steel and
allo7 1orap al10 1tored at the eite. It 11 tl;)eot9’1 that procedure• will be e1tabliabed
at an earl1 date tor di1po1ition or thi• oontlminated 1orap metal.
I ‘
‘!be V1 tro Corporation ot Canona’biirg, Pa., aontracted Vi th the Atnoan M9tal.1 Corporation
to pvoh111 the J)itohblend• rattinate (AM-7) toie reoov81’1 ot nickel, cobalt, and copper.
‘lhe Co11111d.aa1on entel’ed into a contract with the Vitro Corporation to purchase ul”anilllft
w.l.uee rlOO’Hl”d trom the rattin&te. Since the market value ot nickel, cobalt, and
copper ha.,. deoreaetd 00111S.del’ab17 1n th• l&•t tfltl 79ar1, it· 11 undtntood that ft.tro
Corporation bu cancelled th• contract. It ii our under1tanding that the African Metals
Corporation 1111lJ’ abandon the 111ateM.al in the near tutve. Ho plans have been made to recover
the Urani.W!l values ot this 111aterial.
1here are no current plans to dispose or •111′ ot the ranaining materials.
SUJ11111&ry ot Material Stoted at the Site
Airport Storage Inventoey – April 11, 19$9
Gross To~ Tona U
Pitchblende Raftinate, AK-7
Rattinate, AH-10
Slag, C-Linar
Int81’bs Residue Plant 1a1.11.nga, C-701
Baria Cake, AJ-h
?.ltro baidues
Captured Japan•• U, Preoipitatea
SS,ooo )0-0allon It SO..Oallon 1>ruMs
Steel and Allo7 Scrap
122.) m.4
•Based ‘on vetght or material delivered to site Vi.th no adjustment
tor 11SOiature pick-up.
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