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Curtis Bay Army depot passes review

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspector found no violations or problems during a recent surprise visit to the U.S Army General Services Depot at Curtis Bay to evaluate its storage of radioactive thorium nitrate and gave the facility a clean bill of health.

The March 12 inspection was the first unannounced NRC inspection of the site in eight years, according to Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest, who has prodded the federal agency to be more vigilant about monitoring the depot.

The depot is adjacent to a site the federal government sold the county in 1981 where County Executive Robert R. Neall has proposed putting a detention center.

NRC inspectors found radioactive thorium contamination on 85 acres of that property last May. The federal government has agreed to move the soil to a disposal facility, provided the county first removes several dilapidated warehouses.

The inspector who visited the federal site two weeks ago concluded that the thorium nitrate was being stored in appropriate containers and that they were checked frequently enough to prevent leaking. Thirteen employees at the facility who come into contact with the thorium nitrate are monitored monthly with a film badge that keeps track of exposure to radiation.

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