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2.4.4 Preliminary historical site assessment investigation

The limited scope of this preliminary historical site assessment investigation serves to collect readily available information concerning the facility or site and its surroundings. The investigation should be designed to obtain sufficient information to provide initial classification of the site or survey unit as impacted or non-impacted. Information on the potential distribution of radioactive contamination may be used for classifying each site or survey unit and is useful for planning scoping and characterization surveys.

Table 2.3 provides a set of questions that can be used to assist in the preliminary historical site assessment investigation. Apart from obvious cases (e.g., licensees following under nuclear regulations), this table focuses on characteristics that identify a previously unrecognized or known but undeclared source of potential contamination. Furthermore, these questions may identify confounding factors for selecting reference sites.

1 Was the site ever licensed for the manufacture, use, or distribution of radioactive materials under Agreement State Regulations?

Indicates a higher probability that the area is impacted.
2 Did the site ever have permits to dispose of, or incinerate, radioactive material onsite?
Is there evidence of such activities?
Evidence of radioactive material disposal indicates a higher probability that the area is impacted.

3 Has the site ever had deep wells for injection or permits for such?

Indicates a higher probability that the area is impacted.
4 Did the site ever have permits to perform research with radiation generating devices or radioactive materials except medical or dental x-ray machines? Research that may have resulted in the release of radioactive materials indicates a higher probability that the area is impacted.

5 As a part of the site’s radioactive materials license were there ever any Soil Moisture Density Gauges (Americium-Beryllium or Plutonium-Beryllium sources), or Radioactive Thickness Monitoring Gauges stored or disposed of onsite? Leak test records of sealed sources may indicate whether or not a storage area is impacted. Evidence of radioactive material disposal indicates a higher probability that the area is impacted.
6 Was the site used to create radioactive material(s) by activation? Indicates a higher probability that the area is impacted.

7 Were radioactive sources stored at the site? Leak test records of sealed sources may indicate whether or not a storage area is impacted.

8 Is there evidence that the site was involved in the support of nuclear research of material testing or production of isotopes ?

Indicates a higher probability that the area is impacted.
9 Was the site ever involved in the support of nuclear weapons testing ? Indicates a higher probability that the area is impacted.

10 Were any facilities on the site used as a weapons storage area? Was weapons maintenance ever performed at the site?

Indicates a higher probability that the area is impacted.
11 Was there ever any decontamination, maintenance, or storage of radioactively contaminated ships, vehicles, or planes performed onsite?

Indicates a higher probability that the area is impacted.
12 Is there a record of any aircraft accident at or near the site (e.g., depleted uranium counterbalances, thorium alloys, radium dials)? May include other considerations such as evidence of radioactive materials that were not recovered.

13 Was there ever any radiopharmaceutical manufacturing, storage, transfer, or disposal onsite? Indicates a higher probability that the area is impacted.

14 Was animal research ever performed at the site? Evidence that radioactive materials were used for animal research indicates a higher probability that the area is impacted.

15 Were uranium, thorium, or radium compounds (NORM) used in manufacturing, research, or testing at the site, or were these compounds stored at the site? Indicates a higher probability that the area is impacted or results in a potential increase in background variability.

16 Has the site ever been involved in the processing or production of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (e.g., radium, fertilizers, phosphorus compounds, vanadium compounds, refractory materials, or precious metals) or mining, milling, processing, or production of uranium?

Indicates a higher probability that the area is impacted or results in a potential increase in background variability.
17 Were coal or coal products used onsite?
If yes, did combustion of these substances leave ash or ash residues onsite?
If yes, are runoff or production ponds onsite?

May indicate other considerations such as a potential increase in background variability.
18 Was there ever any onsite disposal of material known to be high in naturally occurring radioactive materials (e.g., monazite sands used in sandblasting)? May indicate other considerations such as a potential increase in background variability.

19 Did the site process pipes from the oil and gas industries? Indicates a higher probability that the area is impacted or results in a potential increase in background variability.

20 Is there any reason to expect that the site may be contaminated with radioactive material (other than previously listed)? See Section 3.6.3.

Table 2.3 Questions useful for a preliminary historical site assessment investigation.