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Radiation Source Removed from Greenwich, New York Site

Release Date: 12/28/2004
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(#04192) NEW YORK, N.Y. - Taking quick action to address a potential threat, the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) facilitated the removal of a radioactive Krypton-85 capsule from the Stevens & Thompson Paper Company site in Greenwich, New York. Honeywell, the manufacturer of the Krypton-85 capsule, removed the radiation source with EPA oversight shortly after it was discovered by the Agency. The capsule was used to monitor paper film thickness for quality control purposes. Krypton-85 is a radioactive gas with a 10-year half-life.

"Working with the current property owner and Honeywell, we were able to have the Krypton-85 capsule quickly removed from the site, eliminating a potential threat to the community," said Acting EPA Regional Administrator Kathleen C. Callahan. "This is a good example of what can happen when EPA and private parties work together to accomplish a task about which Superman could only dream."

The Stevens & Thompson Paper Company site occupies 27 acres in a rural/residential area, and is located on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Battenkill River. The company became defunct two years ago and the facility is closed. The site is under new ownership, and EPA is currently performing an ongoing Superfund assessment of the site to determine the need for an environmental cleanup. In the course of its assessment, EPA discovered a crate marked with a radiation label for Krypton-85. Upon further investigation, the Krypton-85 capsule was found inside a paper-making machine.

EPA placed the current owner of the site and Honeywell in contact with each other to coordinate removal of the radiation source. Within days, the capsule was removed from the paper-making machine and placed in a special container to shield the radiation, and shipped to the Honeywell office in Arizona for either reuse or disposal. EPA coordinated with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Radiological Health Unit of the New York State Department of Labor, and the local Fire Department.