During the Cold War, the U.S. government created hundreds of factories and research centers to help develop nuclear weapons.
This work left behind residual radioactive contamination at many of these sites.
Government cleanups have been required ever since, some of which are still going on.
The Department of Energy says it has protected public health, but studies about radiation harm aren’t definitive.
Every year, The Wall Street Journal releases a list of towns and cities by state that are the most contaminated based on a compiled database that contains thousands of public records.
Keep reading for information about the most contaminated sites below, as well as a full list of Massachusetts sites with radioactive history.
Metals and Controls Corp. | Attleboro
This was a former nuclear fuel site that contained uranium during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1997, The Nuclear Regulatory Commission declared that the site met the criteria for unrestricted use. This site is located East of Forest St., between Haggerty Highway and Perry Ave.
Ventron Corporation | Beverly
The Ventron Corporation was a uranium metal production center from 1942 to 1948. Records show it has been contaminated by radium, thorium, and uranium. Cleanup efforts have been underway since the 1980s.
Nuclear Metals, Inc. | Cambridge & West Concord
Nuclear Metals, Inc. produced natural uranium tubes for the Savannah River reactor program in 1954 with the MIT Metallurgical Laboratory. In 2011, it was reported that this facility is on the USEPA National Priority Listing (NPL) and is undergoing cleanup.
Shpack Landfill | Norton
According to government records, the Shpack Landfill was contaminated by uranium and closed in 1965. The cleanup process is still underway. Plans for after the cleanup include converting the area into a fenced-in wildlife habitat.
Engelhard Industries | Plainville
This site formerly handled uranium for metal fabrication purposes. Engelhard is currently undergoing cleanup and the site has been fenced off to prevent any unnecessary human contact.
Chapman Valve | Springfield
Chapman Valve produced natural uranium rods beginning during the 1940s. In 1991, a radiological survey revealed uranium contamination on the floors, walls, and overhead beams of the facility. In 2011, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health stated that the potential existed for significant residual radiation from 1950 to 1994. The current property owner claims there is no longer any radiation contamination.
Watertown Arsenal | Watertown
The towns and cities listed below are classified by the government as having a remote or no potential for radioactive contamination but were still exposed to radioactive contaminants like uranium and thorium.
To learn more about contaminated sites undergoing cleanups throughout the United States, be sure to check out The Wall Street Journal's official database here.
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