FORT WAYNE – A local demolition project on the Valbruna Slater Stainless Inc. campus won’t expose workers or the community to residual radiation, a company official said Thursday.
The old melt shop building currently being demolished is not among the areas suspected of having radioactive materials present from the historical Joslyn operation, General Manager Tiziano Briozzo wrote in an email to The Journal Gazette.
Concern arose this week after local businessman Jerry Henry confirmed plans to demolish the 55,000-square-foot melt shop at 2400 Taylor St., the former site of the Joslyn Manufacturing and Supply Co.
Joslyn workers in the 1940s melted and machined uranium that was used in the top-secret Manhattan Project during World War II.
Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program have tested the site and targeted it for cleanup. In the meantime, the contamination is under concrete or behind walls, sealed off from the public, an Army Corps official said in 2012.
Valbruna bought the property in 2004, investing millions in buildings and equipment. The company’s approach to this project has been to trust but verify, Briozzo said.
As a precaution, and to verify the U.S. Army Corps information, Valbruna commissioned an independent radiological survey of the old melt shop last year, he said in the email. From the survey: The results of the radiation survey indicated that readings are within background; therefore Building 3 has not been impacted by former uranium processing activities.’
Briozzo added that one of his main responsibilities is to ensure the safety of his workers and contractors.
His office is also on the site.
Henry approached Valbruna officials about six months ago with a proposition. His crew would demolish the building, which some consider an eyesore, for free. After selling the scrap metal, Henry will share the proceeds with Valbruna.
Henry estimated the demolition will take four to six months.