EEOICPA CIRCULAR NO. 11-01 December 15, 2010
SUBJECT: Determination that the Uranium Mill at Shiprock is a DOE facility for the period October 1984 through November 1986.
The issue was raised as to whether the Uranium Mill at Shiprock, NM is a covered Department of Energy (DOE) facility under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). The site is a former Uranium Mill located on Navajo land. The mill was shut down in 1968 and the area was found to have radiological contamination. As a consequence, DOE was obligated under the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (UMTRCA) to conduct environmental remediation at this site. After researching the issue and reviewing documentation related to the Uranium Mill at Shiprock, it was determined that it is a covered DOE facility for the period October 1984 through November 1986.
The relevant statutory definition states at §73841 (12): The term “Department of Energy facility” means any building, structure, or premise, including the grounds upon which such building, structure, or premise is located
(A) in which operations are, or have been, conducted by, or on behalf of, the Department of Energy (except for buildings, structures, premises, grounds, or operations covered by Executive Order No. 12344, dated February 1, 1982 (42 U.S.C. 7158 note), pertaining to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program); and
(B) with regard to which the Department of Energy has or had
i. a proprietary interest; or
ii. entered into a contract with an entity to provide management and operation, management and integration, environmental remediation services, construction, or maintenance services. (emphasis added) 42 U.S.C. § 7384l(12).
According to the Department of Energy’s “A Report to Congress on Long-Term Stewardship,” the surface remediation, including construction of the disposal cell, was completed in November 1986. Other DOE documentation from the Energy Information Administration indicates that the remedial work began in October 1984. This same report states that the remediation was concluded in October 1986, but given that other DOE documentation indicates that remediation was concluded as of November 1986, the latter date will be utilized for administration of the EEOICPA. Accordingly, it is clear from the documentation that DOE was responsible for remediation of the site and coordinated contractors to accomplish this work. Conducting this remediation work fulfills the operations (A) portion of the definition. Since an environmental remediation contract is one listed in (B)(ii), the Uranium Mill at Shiprock meets the statutory definition of a DOE facility for this period of time.
The Uranium Mill at Shiprock is a DOE facility for purposes of the EEOICPA for the period October 1984 through November 1986 and staff should handle claims in a manner consistent with this guidance.
Rachel P. Leiton
Director, Division of Energy Employees
Occupational Illness Compensation
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