The Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL) in Schenectady, N.Y., is a U.S. government-owned but contractor-operated research and engineering facility. It develops the designs and operations for naval nuclear propulsion plants for use on U.S. Navy submarines. It includes two research facilities in Niskayuna and West Milton. Knolls is known for developing nuclear submarine prototypes that were used to create the first nuclear submarines. Its operations are now overseen by the Schenectady Naval Reactors Office.
General Electric (GE) operated KAPL from its start in the 1940s until the 1990s. Unfortunately, asbestos-containing materials were commonly used throughout KAPL facilities. Workers may have been exposed to asbestos when installing, maintaining, repairing or removing asbestos-containing equipment and materials. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can stay in the body for decades, eventually leading to cancers such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.
The experienced New York asbestos attorneys at Belluck & Fox have successfully represented people who have been diagnosed with an asbestos disease after being exposed at Knoll Atomic Power Laboratory. We know exactly what asbestos-containing materials were used at KAPL and which companies manufactured and sold the products. Our team fights aggressively to hold these asbestos companies accountable for the harm they have caused innocent workers and families.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos disease after working at KAPL, you should learn about your legal right to compensation. Our team can help you pursue full payment for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. Call or contact us online today to set up a free consultation, and learn how we can make a difference for you.
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Asbestos Exposure at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory
For many years, General Electric researched nuclear energy and propulsion for the Navy at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. The lab also supported the company’s projects that were being conducted at its nuclear weapons facility in Washington. The site housed a range of facilities, including machine shops, a boiler house, a prototype submarine reactor, waste-handling facilities, and chemistry, physics and metallurgy laboratories.
Asbestos-containing materials were used in both the nuclear submarine prototypes made at the facility and throughout the KAPL buildings themselves. Workers may have been exposed to the cancer-causing materials while working on:
- Liquid and steam pipes
- Insulation and refractory material
- Asbestos cement
- Fireproofing spray
Those who maintained and repaired boilers, pumps, turbines and pipe systems often were exposed to asbestos when removing insulation, scraping out old packing, cutting asbestos sheets, mixing asbestos cement and re-applying insulation when work was complete. Others who maintained the buildings may have been exposed while cutting, drilling into, ripping out or otherwise disturbing asbestos building materials.
Asbestos fibers are microscopic and could form a cloud of dust that put everyone in the vicinity in danger of inhaling the toxic material.
Although Knolls stopped using asbestos insulation products in 1976, many asbestos-containing materials remained. The Knolls laboratory suffered “a major lapse in asbestos control” in 1986, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. In 1989, KAPL launched a plan to reduce accessible asbestos insulation at the facility.
Occupations Commonly Exposed to Asbestos
Because dust and airborne fibers can affect more than just those working directly with asbestos materials, anyone at Knolls could have been exposed. However, certain occupations were more at risk than others due to their common contact with materials that contained asbestos. These include:
- Boiler tenders
- Lab workers
- Maintenance workers
- Construction workers
- Power plant workers
About Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory – Schenectady
In 1946, the U.S. government and General Electric entered into a contract to launch the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. The goal was to research and develop nuclear energy sources, including a power plant that would run on nuclear energy instead of fossil fuel. In 1950, the project shifted focus to naval nuclear propulsion.
GE operated the facility until 1993, when operation shifted to Martin Marietta Corporation. Lockheed Martin took over in 1995, and then Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation took on the reins in 2008.
During its almost 50-year run, though, GE designed reactors that provided power for 60 percent of the Navy’s nuclear ships, and KAPL trained more than 40,000 naval reactor operators.
Our Trusted N.Y. Asbestos Attorneys Represent Former KAPL and GE Workers
For many years, companies in New York that manufactured and sold asbestos products knew of the dangers they could cause but failed to warn the public. People unknowingly handled the cancer-causing material without masks or other protective gear, and many carried the carcinogen home on uniforms, clothing, hair and skin.
There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, and the diseases it causes have a long latency period. In fact, thousands of people each year continue to be diagnosed with incurable asbestos diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.
If you or a loved one worked at Knolls and has since been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos illness, please contact us today to learn about your legal right to compensation. Our skilled mesothelioma attorneys will review your work history and your medical records, then explain your next steps.
Learn More About Asbestos and Mesothelioma in Our Free Guide
With more than two decades of experience handling asbestos claims, our attorneys have built an extensive collection of resources to share with mesothelioma patients and their families. Our team works to:
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Although mesothelioma is a rare disease, you and your family are not alone in this fight. At Belluck & Fox, we have helped countless patients and families get the full and fair compensation they need to handle the journey ahead.
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