Document Details

A Study of Mercury Use at the Y-12 Plant, Accountability, and Impacts on Y-12 Workers and the Environment - 1950 to 1983
Wiley, S [comp.]
Subject Terms:
Alpha-4; Alpha-5; Beta-4; Building 9201-4; Building 9201-5; Building 9204-4; Colex Process; Flask Quantities; Lithium Isotope Separation; Lithium Tails; Mercury; Mercury Losses; Stockpiles; Worker Exposure
Document Location:
DOE INFORMATION CENTER 1 Way, Oak Ridge, TN 37831; Eva Butler; Phone: 865-241-4780; Toll-Free: 800-382-6938, Option 6; FAX: 865-574-3521; Email:
Document Categories:
Health, Safety and Environment\Public Health and Safety
Document Type:
Publication Date:
1983 Apr 18
Declassification Date:
1995 Mar 28
Declassification Status:
Document Pages:
Accession Number:
Document Number(s):
Originating Research Org.:
Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant
OpenNet Entry Date:
1995 Jul 31
The report gives a brief history of the first buildings of the Y-12 plant constructed along East Fork Poplar Creek in 1943 to carry out the first production-scale separation of Uranium Isotopes for the atomic bomb and ten years later, the first production-scale separation of the isotopes of Lithium for use in hydrogen bombs. Worker health concerns with the toxicity of mercury, environmental effects, and mercury material balance issues are assessed. As far as conclusions reached, a 1983 epidemeology study by ORAU found no significant differences between the Y-12 mercury workers and the non-mercury workers at Y-12 and a U.S. general population group in the death rates from all causes or from a different number of cancers. Although it cannot be documented, it is the opinion that a sizable part (.5 million pounds) of the unaccounted-for mercury was never received by Y-12, and good guesses can be made as to the disposition of another .15 million pounds, leaving a net unaccounted-for estimate of .65 million pounds. Available data support the judgement that there is no immediate or foreseeable risk to the health of the public as a result of the past or current mercury discharges other than an unlikely possibility of harm that would result if a person were to ingest a large number of fish containing higher than 1 ppm mercury from the East Fork Poplar Creek on a continuing basis.

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