Residents of Pike County, Ohio have filed a proposed class action over the alleged contamination of their properties by radioactive material stemming from uranium enrichment operations that occurred at a 3,777-acre area known as the Portsmouth Site.
Residents of Pike County, Ohio have filed a proposed class action lawsuit over the alleged contamination of their properties by radioactive material stemming from uranium enrichment operations that occurred at a 3,777-acre area known as the Portsmouth Site.
The lawsuit names as defendants the operators of a gaseous diffusion plant, a centrifuge facility, and a depleted uranium hexafluoride conversion plant on the site, as well as the entities responsible for remediation and waste management. According to the lawsuit, the defendants’ operations at the Portsmouth Site have caused the surrounding area to become contaminated with radioactive materials.
The case says residents were first alerted to the presence of radioactivity when Zahn’s Corner Middle School in Piketon was closed down in May 2019 due to health concerns associated with the detected presence of enriched uranium inside the building. A recent study conducted by Northern Arizona University reportedly concluded that radioactive materials were present in the surface waters, sediments, interior dusts, and air in the Piketon area surrounding the Portsmouth Site.
The lawsuit argues that the defendants were aware of the dangers and health risks associated with exposure to radioactive materials yet assured residents of the Piketon area that Portsmouth Site operations had not contaminated nearby properties or presented a danger to public health.
“Defendants could not have prevented all risks from harm to humans from their operations,” the complaint asserts, “but they could have prevented or mitigated the offsite impact with better precautionary measures, compliance with applicable regulations, and the use of reasonable care. The foreseeable risks of harm posed could have been reduced or avoided by reasonable instructions or warnings when it became clear that toxins had been released into the environment.”