Press Release

BALTIMORE (April 22, 1999) - A complaint was filed today in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County on behalf of the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) against Neutron Products Inc for failing to provide financial assurance sufficient to decommission its licensed facility. The facility, which is located at 22301 Mt. Ephraim Road in Dickerson, uses cobalt-60 to manufacture sealed radioactive sources.

The department alleges that Neutron failed to provide financial assurance by the regulatory deadline of October 15, 1998 as required by Maryland statute and regulation. The intent of the statute and regulation is that radioactive material licensees not be permitted to operate unless they can demonstrate they have sufficient financial resources to clean up their facilities should they close for any reason. Because such assurance was not in place by the October 1998 deadline, Neutron had 180 days to shut down its facility and provide an adequate plan of decommissioning before it lost its right to possess, store, use or ship the licensed radioactive material.

Neutron needed a total of $900,000 to financially assure its licenses. With regard to two of the licenses relating to the use of sealed sources or radiation and requiring only $150,000 in financial assurance, Neutron has indicated a source of funds for these licenses. The parties are in negotiations over the terms of the escrow agreement under which these funds will be held. However, with regard to the major license at the site, the manufacturing license requiring $750,000, Neutron has indicated that the company does not have the funds. Despite repeated requests, Neutron could not identify a potential source for such funds.

In order to protect the community from the accumulation of more radioactive material and radioactive waste at the site, reduce future costs associated with cleanup and to provide a framework for the orderly shutdown of the facility, MDE is asking the Court, among other things, to prohibit the receipt of any additional radioactive material at the facility; prohibit the removal of radioactive material from the Limited Access Area of the facility; and prohibit any cobalt-60 manufacturing activity at the facility.