F.A.C.T.S.,Incorporated is a non-governmental, non-profit, public
interest organization located in the Western New York area. F.A.C.T.S. was
recognized by the U.S.Department of Energy (DOE) as a "community coalition"
stakeholder during the required public review process to select a "final"
cleanup plan for several Tonawanda, NY properties that were recklessly
contaminated with thousands of tons and millions of gallons of Manhattan
Project radioactive wastes produced by a dirty wartime uranium refinery that
operated in the Tonawanda area in the 1940s.
Tonawanda is located just north of the city of Buffalo, NY. The Linde
Air Products Company (now the Praxair corporation) was selected by the U.S.
Army as a private contractor for the purpose of refining uranium ores used in
the production of the world's first atomic bombs. We now have to deal with the
severe environmental and public health consequences of the wartime's "go for
F.A.C.T.S. supports the complete removal of Tonawanda's
radioactive waste to a dry, secure site, much more suitable for the long-term
management of these wastes.
When our individual investigations uncovered many pieces of important
information that were previously not known by the affected community, we
decided to create a group to inform the public of our findings. At a meeting in
the fall of 1994, it was decided to name the group F.A.C.T.S. (For A Clean
Tonawanda Site). The first move was to start publishing and mailing the
F.A.C.T.S. Newsletter to get this very important information out to interested
members of the local community.
To disseminate, in a timely manner, factual information related to
cleaning up the Tonawanda nuclear waste site. Also, to serve as a resource to
help interested citizens obtain relevant site-related materials.
F.A.C.T.S. subsequently decided to present its accumulated information
resources, along with the early printed newsletters, to a wider audience of
concerned citizens by creating an expanded, comprehensive web site on the
internet. We hope you will benefit from the information presented on this web
site. It is our intention to give local residents and others a public interest
perspective on the question of whether this long-lived radioactive
contamination is something to be concerned about or "no problem" as governments
have said for so long.
At present, F.A.C.T.S. has a database of almost 200 contacts dealing
with environmental issues. Of the 200, about 26 contacts are independent
experts in the field of epidemiology and/or the study of ionizing radiation and
its causation of cancers, providing a much broader perspective on site issues
and problems than reliance on just one or two government sources as some local
politicians have done.
During World War II and until 1948, the Linde Air Products Company in
Tonawanda (now Praxair) processed uranium ore for the U.S. Army's Manhattan
Engineer District. Under the code name Manhattan Project, this top-secret
program was responsible for developing the first atomic bombs.
Contrary to federal government statements made by DOE and now the Army
Corps of Engineers, the Linde facility was not "decontaminated to the standards
in effect at the time." In fact, the uranium production facilities were turned
back over to Linde by the federal Atomic Energy Commision (AEC, DOE's
predecessor) still containing very high levels of contamination - levels many
times the license requiring threshhold of the AEC's own 1947 regulations (see
F.A.C.T.S.' letter to former NYS Department of Labor
Commissioner John Sweeney).
In 1944 the government purchased the nearby Haist property (now known
as Ashland 1) and used it for disposal of radioactive uranium processing
residues until 1946. The Ashland Oil Company knowingly bought this heavily
contaminated property in 1960 at a government auction after an illegal federal
transfer of the property from AEC to GSA (the General Services Administration)
and later built an oil refinery/storage tank facility on it (see
DOE's Authority Review for Seaway). During
construction on this property, Ashland moved some of the radioactive residues
and contaminated soils to the Ashland 2 and Seaway properties. Ashland 1 and 2
are currently vacant and unused, and Seaway is a closed solid waste
In the 1940s, Linde Air Products Company (Linde) had been researching
the use of uranium compounds to color glazed ceramic materials. It was Linde's
expertise in this field that prompted the U.S. Army to contract with the
company to refine the uranium ore used in the making of the world's first
atomic bombs. The Army used the name "Ceramics Plant" when speaking about this
Manhattan Project facility.
For a more detailed history Tonawanda Site, including a
discussion of the contaminants and the various clean-up criteria please
see Overview of the Tonawanda Site
Web site maintained by Thomas P. Schafer