DOE Portsmouth Site

A community meeting hosted by the Scioto Valley Local School District (SVLSD) will be held on Saturday, Aug. 10 in the Piketon High School cafeteria with the purpose of presenting results from sampling for radiological contamination completed at Zahn’s Corner Middle School over the Memorial Day weekend.

Doors will open for the meeting at 10 a.m., and the presentation will begin promptly at 11 a.m., according to Jennifer Chandler of the Scioto Valley-Piketon Area Council of Governments.

The community meeting will also include an update on the comprehensive sampling effort, which is scheduled to begin in September.

“At the request of the SVLSD Board of Education and the Pike County General Health District (PCGHD), DOE provided funding to hire a qualified independent environmental contractor to collect samples inside and outside our middle school building, including in classroom areas and on the playground,” according to information provided by Chandler. “The school will be tested for radioactive byproducts released into the air by DOE’s Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant during past uranium enrichment operations, as well as from the current construction activities of the onsite waste disposal cell and the open-air demolition of plant buildings and structures.

“The Zahns Corner Middle School building will remain closed for the 2019-2020 school year and will not be reopened until we can be absolutely certain that the building and grounds provide a safe and healthy environment for our students, staff, parents and visitors.”

Samples taken during the Memorial Day weekend were taken to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH); the county (which sent their samples to scientists who tested the results at Northern Arizona University); and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), for separate analysis.

This meeting will feature presenters who tested the results on behalf of the county, Michael E. Ketterer, Ph.D., professor emeritus, chemistry and biochemistry of Northern Arizona University, and Scott C. Szechenyi, M.S., independent consultant.

A story on the differing Memorial day sampling results between the researchers at Northern Arizona University, ODH, and DOE ran in the Sunday, July 4 edition of the News Watchman. There will be further updates on these issues in future editions.

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