RADInfo National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Subpart K: Elemental Phosphorus Plants

RADInfo BannerRADInfo icon

Description of Source:
Elemental phosphorus plants extract pure phosphorus from ore for use in the chemical industry. This extraction process causes polonium-210 and lead-210 to become airborne and possibly released to the environment. Inhaling these radionuclides can increase a person's risk of lung cancer. There are currently eight elemental phosphorus plants in the United States. Five are operational and three are on standby.

The Standard: 
Total emissions of polonium-210 from an elemental phosphorus plant may not exceed 4.5 curies per year. Polonium-210 emissions from the plant's calciners and nodulizing kilns may not exceed 2 curies per year. (Calciners and nodulizing kilns are units in which phosphate rock is heated to high temperatures to remove organic material and/or to convert it to a nodular form.) By limiting the polonium-210 emissions, EPA also limits the lead-210 emissions.

Reporting Requirements: 
Facility owners and operators must test emissions annually and report the results to EPA each year. However, the EPA Administrator may temporarily or permanently waive the annual testing requirement or increase the frequency of testing. Reports on emissions testing must be submitted within 60 days of conducting the test and include the results of the testing and a description of the emission controls used on each release point and an estimate of their efficiency.

More Information:
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFE): 40 CFR 61, Subpart K
EPA Radiation Protection Division NESHAPs Home Page