Additional recommended knowledge
Maxey Flat is a hilltop community in Kentucky approximately 10 miles northwest of Morehead and approximately 17 miles south of Flemingsburg on County Road 1895. It is on the county line of Rowan and Fleming counties. Maxey Flat is in the Knobs physiographic region of Kentucky, an area characterized by flat-topped ridges (Flats) and hills (Knobs). Maxey Flat is one of the largest flat-topped ridges in the area. Though the area is frequently referred to in government documentation as 'Maxey Flats,' the historically correct name of the area is simply 'Maxey Flat.'
Maxey Flat Low Level Radioactive Waste facility
As part of a program to encourage the nuclear industry in Kentucky, the Kentucky General Assembly created the Division of Nuclear Information. In 1960 the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation granting the governor power to enter into agreement with the federeal government for the transfer of regulatory powers concerning atomic energy in Kentucky. Also in 1960, Governor Bert Combs charged the Cabinet of Health with the regulatory and licensing responsibilities for the handling of radioactive materials. In 1962 Kentucky became the first of the old Atomic Energy Commission's "Agreement States." The Kentucky Division of Nuclear Information was then succeeded by the Division of Atomic Development which then transferred its responsibilities to the Kentucky Atomic Energy Authority which eventually became the Kentucky Science and Technology Commission. In retrospect it seems that many of these agencies were established with the hope of bringing a nuclear power plant to Kentucky. Despite being the first state to enter into agreement with the Atomic Energy Commission, Kentucky has never been the site of a nuclear reactor. However, in 1962 Nuclear Engineering Company, Inc. (NECO) bought 252 acres of land on Maxey Flat and submitted an application for a license to bury radioactive waste there. The license was granted in January of 1963.
From 1963 to 1977 the Maxey Flat Low Level Radioactive Waste facility served as a dump for 832 corporations and government agencies. The site covered 252 acres and consisted of a series of 52 unlined trenches that are an average of 360 feet long, 70 feet wide and 20 feet deep. Approximately 4,750,000 cubic feet of Low Level Radioactive Waste was deposited on-site. These trenches were capped with dirt when they reached their capacity limit, but because of the heavy rainfall in the area the soil collapsed into the trenches and the trenches filled with water. It has since been referred to as the "bathtub effect." The water that invaded the trenches became radioactive and had to be disposed of. Under the direction of President and Chief Executive Officer James N. Neel, Nuclear Engineering Company ('NECO', now known as 'American Ecology') installed an evaporator and disposed of the water as steam from 1973 to April 1986; nearly 9 years after the site had stopped accepting waste materials. The evaporator generally operated 24 hours a day. Approximately six million gallons of liquid were processed by the evaporator. In addition to the trenches for Low Level Radioactive Waste there were "Hot Wells" that were used to store Special Nuclear Material  (plutonium and enriched uranium). The Hot Wells were typically 10 to 15 feet deep, constructed of concrete, coated steel pipe or tile, and capped with a slab of concrete. Approximately 950 pounds of Special Nuclear Material is buried at Maxey Flat.
From 1987 to 1991 a study was done to determine the best method of cleaning up the site. Extensive remediation was then undertaken, including the installation of a 45 mil scrim-reinforced geomembrane liner covering the site of the trenches to prevent the infiltration of water. The site is currently managed by the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The site is considered non-reclaimable and will have to be monitored and maintained in perpetuity. In 2003 the site's nature as a risk to national security came under review by the Department of Homeland Security, primarily because of the transuranic isotopes stored at the site. In response to concerns that the radioactive isotopes at the site might be used against American interests, DHS had the sign at the entrance to the facility removed so it would be harder to find.
Partial list of companies named as "Potentially Responsible Parties" during the remedial action.
Department of Energy
Department of the Interior
Environmental Protection Agency
National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute for Standards
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
U.S. Bureau of Mines
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
U.S. Food & Drug Administration
U.S. Geological Survey
U.S. Public Health Service
Case Western Reserve University
Drexel University and Institute of Technology
George Washington University Hospital
Georgetown University Hospital
Jewish Hospital of St. Louis
Louisiana State University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Michigan State University
State University of New York
University of Alabama Systems
University of Arkansas
University of Chicago
University of Connecticut
University of Florida
University of Illinois
University of Miami
University of Michigan
University of Notre Dame
University of Oklahoma
University of Pennsylvania
University of South Carolina
University of Tennessee
University of Texas
Wayne State University
West Virginia University
AAI Corporation (for Aircraft Armaments)
ADCO Services (for Atomic Disposal)
Advance Transportation Co. (for A&H Truck Line)
Akzo Nobel (for American Enka)
Aladdin Industries, Inc.
Albert Einstein Medical Center
Alexander Blain Memorial Hospital
Allegheny General Hospital
American Can Co.
American cast Iron Pipe Co.
American Machine & Foundry
American Oncologic Hospital
Anchor Dyeing & Finishing Co.
Applied Science Laboratories
Irvin Industries, Inc. (for Systems Research Labs)
Ashland Chemical Co.
Ashland Petroleum Co.
Associated Radiologists, Inc.
Atlantic City Hospital
B. F. Goodrich Co.
Baptist Memorial Hospital (FL)
Bashline Hospital Assoc., Ltd.
Batesville Manufacturing Co. (Gencorp Aerojet)
Bausch & Lomb
Bay Medical Center
Beazer East, Inc. (for Koppers Co.)
Bethany Medical Center
Bethesda Hospital, Inc. (Cincinnati)
Bethlehem Steel Corp.
The BOC Group (for Air Reduction Co. & Airco Alloys & Carbide)
BoWater Carolina Corp.
Braddock General Hospital
Brandywine Hospital (for Coatsville Hosp.)
BRT Inc. (for Huyck Felt)
Bulova Watch Co., Inc.
Campbell Soup Co.
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Charleston Memorial Hospital
Chestnut Hill Hospital
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Childrenls Hospital (Colnmhusy OH)
Christ Hospital (James N. Gamble Institute)
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Community Methodist Hospital
Dover General Hospital & Medical Center
Dow Corning Corp.
Duplin General Hospital
Eli Lilly & Co.
Exxon Research & Engineering (for Esso and Humble Oil Co.)
Florida Dept. of Transportation
Ford Motor Co.
General Motors Corp.
The GNI Group, Inc. (for Nuclear Environmental Engineering)
Good Samaritan Hospital (Lexington, KY)
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
Greater Southeast Community
Hospital (formerly Morris Cafritz Hospital)
Greene Memorial Hospital
Henry Ford Hospital
IIT Research Institute
Incarnate Word Hospital
Industrial Process Co.
Institute for Cancer Research
Institute of Gas Technology
Jackson Memorial Hospital
Jewish Hospital (Louisville, KY)
Johns Hopkins University/Johns Hopkins Hospital/Johns Hopkins Health System
Johnson Controls, Inc.
Kittening Research Lab
King's Daughterly Hospital
Laboratory Equipment Corp.
Leeds & Northmlp
Lenoir Memorial Hospital
Lutheran Hospital of Indiana, Inc.
Maine Yankee Atomic Power Co.
Margaret R. Pardee Memorial Hospital
Medical College of Pennsylvania
Menorah Medical Center
Merck & Coo, Inc.
Mercy Catholic Medical Center
Mercy Hospital Anderson (for Our Lady of Mercy Hospital)
Mercy Medical Center (Coon Rapids, MN)
Marion MerFell Dow Inc. (for William S. Merrell Co.)
Miami Valley Hospital
Mother Fiances Hospital
Mt. Sinai Medical Center (OH)
Transportation Corp. (for International Harvester)
Northern States Power
Nuclear Radiation Devel. Inc.
Nuclear Sources & Services, Inc.
Occidental Chemical Corp. (for Diamond Shamrock & Diamond Alkali)
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
Old Colony Daytoh Envelope Co. (International Paper)
Omaha Public Power District
Owens-Corning Fiberglass Corp.
Oxy USA (Cities Service Oil & Gas. Co.)
Parke Davis & Co.
Penn State University
Pharmacia, Inc. (for Electronucleonics)
Phillips Petroleum Co.
PPG Industries, Inc.
Pyrotonics, Division of Baker Industries
Quantum Chemical Corp. (for National Distillers and U.S. Industrial Chemicals Co.)
R. G. Thomas & Associates
Radiac Research Corp.
RAM Electronics, Inc.
Reid Memorial Hospital
Research Triangle Institute
Rexham Corp. (for Speedring and National Spectrographic Laboratories)
Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center
Rhone-poulenc Rorer Pharmaceuticals Inc. (for William H. Rorer, Inc.)
Roger Williams General Hospital
Rohm & Haas (for Warren-Teed Consolidated Biomedical Labs)
Saginaw General Hospital
Sandusky Memorial Hospital
Sealed Power Technologies (SPX Corp.)
Searle Diagnostic Lab
Southeastern General Hospital
St. Francis Hospital
St. Juleps Hospital
St. Louis Testing Labs, Inc.
St. Thomas Hospital
Sterling Winthrop Research Inst.
Stevens Institute of Technology
Suburban Community Hospital
Tampa General Hospital
Texas Instruments, Inc.
Theodore R. Schwalm, Inc.
Tinmen Mercy Medical Center
Todd Shipyards Corp.
Troxler Electronic Labs, Inc.
University of Cincinnati
University of Maryland at Baltimore
University of Wisconsin-Madison
W. R.. Grace & Co.
West Penn Hospital
Wisconsin Electric Poker Co.
Xtek Inc. (for Tool Steel Gear & Pinion co.)