The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia

Displaying items by tag: anderson county

American-Nuclear-2.jpgThe remains of American Nuclear Corporation in Anderson County, Tenn. The company closed in 1972.  Photo courtesy of Tennessee Lookout

American Nuclear Corporation leaked radioactive chemicals for years before it closed in 1972

This article was originally published by Tennessee Lookout.

CLAXTON — An East Tennessee site that has been contaminated for about 50 years with radioactive waste is set to be cleaned up with about $13.5 million in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation told Anderson County on October 9. 

The American Nuclear Corporation site, located in Claxton, Tennessee, has been a source of concern for Anderson County Government for years. Local officials have reached out at various points since at least 2008 to the state, the EPA and their district’s congressmen for help on cleaning up the site, according to a compilation of county records distributed last year by then County Commissioner Catherine Denenberg to the county’s intergovernmental committee.  

“I don’t know if we’re on camera, but in case we are, I am not going to dance but I am so darn excited about this!” County Mayor Terry Frank said after the announcement at the county’s intergovernmental meeting. “This is huge for Anderson County.”

In the 1960s, the American Nuclear Corporation “manufactured radiological sources for medical institutions,” a 2010 county application for the EPA’s National Brownfield Program grant said. The company had obtained source materials for their products from the Department of Energy. Isotopes that were handled included Cobalt-60 and Cesium-137, the application said. 

“Poor housekeeping was a problem during the entire period that the plant was in operation, and is extensively documented in compliance letters by the Tennessee Department of Public Health — Division of Occupational and Radiological Health. ANC was repeatedly cited for violations involving radioactive material,” the application said.

Published in News

News Sentinel: Toxic ash fill at Claxton ball field uncapped and unsealed

Tennessee Valley Authority used a mix of coal ash and dirt for fill during construction of a playing field that was later leased to Anderson County and the local Optimist Club for public use, reported Jamie Satterfield of the Knoxville News Sentinel.

She had earlier reported an adjacent playground was contaminated by coal ash byproducts, including heavy metals and multiple other toxins. The contaminants likely originated from coal-ash piles at the nearby Bull Run Fossil Plant. 

Anderson County and the Claxton Optimist Club operate the playground and sports fields, which are still owned by TVA.

The playground was built about 20 years ago, during which time coal ash disposal was lightly regulated. The disposal of coal ash from facilities such as Bull Run coal plant, which will be closed by 2023, has proven a major environmental problem and challenge for utilities across the country.

Published in Feedbag