OSHA, EPA, Radioactive Materials and Regulatory Compliance

Demolition and Decommissioning Work at Nuclear Facilities and Superfund Sites

Affordable Dust Collection for Containing Radioactive Contaminants in Nuclear Power Plants


Nuclear Power Plant, Radioactive Waste and Demolition Safety

Nuclear power plant demolition requires a considerable amount of planning and preparation before the project can start. Careful regard for worker safety and environment protection must be made when dealing with radioactive waste containment during demolition and decommissioning projects.

Radioactive waste is extremely hazardous to most forms of life and the environment in which they live. Radioactive waste is a byproduct produced during the extraction process of uranium or thorium for its source material content. This source material is used to produce energy used in medical devices, metabolic processes, to treat animals, mine for precious metals and in academic research.

Radioactive materials are all around us. While there are many beneficial uses for the source material found in uranium or thorium, the process itself can create some of the most harmful material known to mankind. The fact that radioactive materials can cause so much harm to both life forms and the environment increases the need for every demolition contractor to ensure worker safety and follow all EPA and OSHA regulations.

OSHA, EPA, Radioactive Materials and Regulatory Compliance

OSHA and the EPA consider radioactive materials toxic and hazardous substances that must be highly regulated. OSHA regulations involve the occupational safety and health standards of workers and EPA regulations involve protection of the environment, ecosystems and people.

Health and environmental risks posed by hazardous waste sites paved the way for the Superfund Program administered by the EPA. According to the act, various Superfund Sites contain radioactive contamination.

The goal of the Superfund is to protect human health, the environment and make responsible parties pay for the work that needs to be performed at the Superfund Sites. If you have been contracted by one of these companies to do demolition work at a Superfund Site, make sure you follow the rules carefully or you could be fined.

When doing demolition work at a nuclear facility or Superfund Site there are strict OSHA regulations that must be followed. OSHA has strict guidelines on demolition worker safety during demolitions being performed at a nuclear facility or Superfund Site.

During demolition work, contractors need to adhere to rules that involve controlling restricted and unrestricted areas, measuring hazardous waste and toxic air levels, controlling exposure to airborne radioactive materials, keeping records of exposure, taking the necessary precautions to reduce the exposure and have policies and procedures in place in the event a worker is exposed. Failure to abide by OSHA standards can result in heavy fines.

Demolition Work at Nuclear Facilities and Superfund Sites

Much of the demolition work at radioactively contaminated sites is done with hand held tools such as gas-powered cutoff saws, circular saws, grinders and needle scalers. The obvious goal is to lower the contamination levels of the debris and thereby lower the disposal cost.

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have been slow to embrace dust collection for the majority of these tools despite heavy pressure from OSHA and EPA regulators. It is only with the recent addition of another layer of enforcement, the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule that the major tool manufacturers have begun to offer effective dust collection for their tools.

These dust collectors vary in efficiency and ease of use but one thing they all have in common is that they add considerably to the cost of the tool. Buying these expensive add-ons is a business decision for the average contractor who has to weigh the cost of the add-on against potential fines and the moral obligation to protect the worker’s health. In an industry where virtually every tool that is brought onto a radioactively contaminated site is ultimately disposed of, the cost of the OEM add-ons can be prohibitive.

Affordable Dust Collection for Containing Radioactive Contaminants in Nuclear Power Plants

Low-cost point of origin dust shrouds for grinders, saws and other hand tools have been available from independent manufacturers for over two decades. Without the burden of the national advertising campaigns run by the major manufacturers, they have come onto the market at dramatically low prices. However, because of the lack of advertising, many of these tools are not known to the industry. The following is a look at the remediation tools and accessories that are available.

Containing Radioactive Contaminants

Using the Right Vacuum

It is a common misunderstanding that efficient dust collection can be achieved without an independent vacuum. It can’t. The weak link in every dust collection system is always the vacuum. The gold standard for true industrial vacuums is 100 cubic feet per minute (CFM) airflow, static lift in excess of 90” and a disposable filter bag into which the debris is collected and subsequently disposed. With 25 years of experience behind them, Dust Collection Products has chosen the Nacecare 570 industrial vacuum as the one best matched to all their point of origin dust collectors. It has the airflow, the power and the filtration system to be compatible with any of the Dust Collection Products line of dust collectors.

Nacecare-Industrial-HEPA-VacuumContaining Radioactive Contaminants

Gas-Powered Saws

Gas-powered demolition saws such as the ones manufactured by Husqvarna, Stihl, Makita and others are the go-to tools for large demolition projects where radioactively contaminated concrete walls and floors have to be removed. The Saw Muzzle GP is designed to work in conjunction with the Nacecare 570 industrial vacuum as a complete system for the efficient, affordable removal of radioactive dusts created when demolishing large concrete structures.

Gas-Powered-SawContaining Radioactive Contaminants

Saw Muzzle Type Z

Another tool used in demolition is the Sawzall, originally by Milwaukee but now manufactured by competing brands such as Bosch, Makita, DeWalt and others. These large reciprocating saws are the tool most often when demolishing non-concrete structures such as contaminated rooms with wooden stud and plaster construction. The Saw Muzzle Type Z is a universally adaptable point of origin dust collector that will fit onto any of the large reciprocating Sawzall type saws. It affords an unobstructed view of the blade and the patented hose design allows the operator to place the pickup at the exact point of dust creation.

Saw-Muzzle-Type-ZContaining Radioactive Contaminants

Saw Muzzle Type E

A number of tool manufacturers offer 12-14” electric cutoff saws, the most popular being the Bosch. These saws are used in indoor demolition projects where gas-powered saws are not an option. The Saw Muzzle Type E is an excellent point of origin dust collector that can be adapted any of the 10-14” electric cutoff saws that are used for indoor demolition work including DeWalt, Bosch, Makita, Hitachi, Milwaukee and others.

Saw-Muzzle-Type-EContaining Radioactive Contaminants

7” Circular Saws

For demolition work where the operator is cutting less than 3” in concrete, drywall or other materials, the original Saw Muzzle is the preferred tool. The Saw Muzzle is designed to fit the Bosch and Skil left-bladed (Model 77 type) circular saws. It can also be easily adapted to the DeWalt 535 and Makita hypoid saws.

7'-Circular-SawContaining Radioactive Contaminants

Angle Grinders

The most popular dust collection shroud for grinding radioactive contaminants is the Dust Muzzle. It is lightweight, easy to install and affordable. At $25 per shroud, it is the perfect dust collector for grinding radioactive dusts to degrade (and lessen the cost of disposal) of hazardous materials. It is available in grinder specific models and universal models. If any company is using exclusively one brand of grinder it is more cost efficient to use the original Dust Muzzle. If a number of different brands are used, the universal Dust Muzzle Ultra is available for disk diameters from 4-8”.


All Dust Collection Products dust collectors are available with an MSDS and are easily disposed of through standard incineration. They have been used at Superfund sites such as Hanford and to descale reactors such as the Nimitz at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

All dust collectors are also available as complete systems with compatible vacuums, blades, grinders and hoses.

Call us for expert technological assistance when setting up your affordable dust collection radioactive containment system on your next nuclear power plant demolition project.

At Dust Collection Products, the soul of our philosophy is to focus on helping demolition contractors and industrial demolition contractors during their demolition work at nuclear facilities. We want to help every demolition contractor and industrial demolition contractor create a safe and toxic free construction environment by providing the Dust Collection tools they need for all of their demolition work at nuclear facilities and superfund sites.

Dust Collection Products provides the Dust Collection tools that demolition contractors, industrial demolition contractors, bridge repair contractors and bridge painters need to eliminate radioactive contaminates, toxic dust, silica dust, fiberglass, drywall dust, anti-fouling paint and other toxic contaminates.

Dust Collection Products, helping demolition contractors and industrial demolition contractors manage the radioactive contaminants made during demo, repair, maintenance, rehabilitation and remodeling projects in a DUST FREE Toxic FREE environment.

Dust Collection Products in San Diego manufactures and sells a complete line of dust collectors for hand tools.

If you need assistance during your demolition work at a nuclear facility or a superfund site and are not sure which tools will provide the best results, call us today at 877-223-2154. We are happy to help!