The Mound Laboratory was first established
in 1943 in Dayton, Ohio. Initially the laboratory was selected
to produce large quantities of polonium. The role of the lab grew
over time to include: nuclear weapons component development and
production; some non-weapons related work including radioactive
waste management and recovery; and the purification of isotopes
for commercial research. The facility played an integral role in
the development, manufacturing, and evaluation of explosive components
for the nuclear defense stockpiles.
In that same year of 1943, Monsanto’s
Dayton Laboratory began research work related to the chemistry
and metallurgy of polonium. This activity was known as the Dayton
Project. The Dayton site’s primary activity involved the
extraction of polonium (Po-210) from feedstock from Hanford to
fabricate atomic bomb irradiators. The initial work took place
at the Mound facility known as Unit I. Over time, due to the growth
of the project, it was moved to several different locations in
the Dayton, Ohio area. In 1946, it became evident that a permanent
polonium production facility was needed. The site selected for
the permanent production facility was Miamisburg, Ohio (Unit V).
The original facility, completed in May 1948, consisted of 14 buildings.
Polonium processing began in February 1949. During the early years
of the Dayton Project, Monsanto operated a separate facility for
the production of rocket propellant (Unit II). This facility
handled ammonium picrate and ammonium nitrate.
Mound production facility (Unit V) was involved in many areas of
research and production from 1949 through at least 1995 (when all
weapons related work was terminated). Some of the activities included:
Weapons Program – Activities
associated with the weapons program included: research; development
and production of detonators; timers, transducers and switches;
and nuclear components.
Stable Isotope Program – The
major efforts conducted within this program included: development
of isotope separation methods for biomedical applications; molecular
science research; and isotope separation research and development.
Tritium Recovery Program – The
Mound Plant received tritium-containing scrap materials from
other DOE sites, which it recovered and purified for future use.
The Mound site became a closure site in 2006, and is now known as the Miamisburg Closure Project. The Project receives approximately $90 million annually to clean up the 306 acre Mound site. The current
workforce includes DOE and CH2M Hill Mound, Inc. Past
contractors included: Monsanto Research,
Inc. 1947-1988; EG&G, 1988-1997; Babcock and Wilcox 1997-2003.