The Robert Emma Ginna Nuclear Power Plant — commonly called Ginna — sits on the shores of Lake Ontario in Ontario, New York, about 20 miles northeast of Rochester. Ginna’s single reactor generates enough energy to power about 500,000 homes.
One of the oldest operating nuclear plants in the United States, Ginna was built at a time when the utilities industry used asbestos in plant equipment and building materials.
Documents from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) confirm that asbestos materials were once used at Ginna.
Former Ginna Nuclear Power Plant workers who developed asbestos-related diseases have successfully brought lawsuits against the companies responsible for their exposure.
Victims have also been able to obtain compensation from trust funds established by companies that are no longer in business.
The top-rated attorneys at Belluck & Fox stand up for the rights of victims who have been diagnosed with asbestos diseases. We make sure that asbestos manufacturers are held accountable for their failure to warn consumers about the dangers of their products.
Over the past 25 years, we have obtained more than $1 billion in compensation on behalf of our deserving clients. If you worked at Ginna and have been diagnosed with an asbestos disease, contact our trusted New York asbestos attorneys at Belluck & Fox for a free case review.
Table of Contents
- 1 Asbestos Exposure at Ginna Nuclear Power Plant
- 2 Maintenance Activities and Plant Shutdowns
- 3 Screenhouse at Ginna
- 4 Ginna Plant Workers Win an Asbestos Settlement
- 5 Ginna Workers At Most Risk of Asbestos Exposure
- 6 Asbestos Trust Funds for Ginna Nuclear Power Plant Victims
- 7 Protecting the Rights of Asbestos Victims
- 8 Driving Direction from R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant to Belluck & Fox
Asbestos Exposure at Ginna Nuclear Power Plant
Ginna uses steam turbines, powered by a pressurized water reactor, to generate electricity. The temperature inside of a nuclear reactor can reach 300 degrees Celsius (or 572 degrees Fahrenheit). Such high temperatures require the use of insulation on equipment to maintain thermal efficiency and protect workers.
In the past, and especially prior to the 1980s, asbestos insulation was used for this purpose. Nuclear power plant equipment that requires insulation includes:
- Reactor vessel
- Reactor coolant pump
- Steam generator
- Heat exchanger
- Feedwater system
- Heat and steam pipes
In 1982, the NRC partnered with Burns and Roe, Inc. to produce a survey of insulation used in nuclear power plants, including Ginna.
The survey reported that thousands of square feet of asbestos insulation was used at Ginna. Aside from asbestos insulation, equipment such as valves, pumps and flanges used asbestos gaskets and packing material.
Maintenance Activities and Plant Shutdowns
Maintenance activities performed at Ginna included:
- Equipment inspection
Certain activities could only be performed when the reactor was temporarily taken offline and the plant was shut down. Long-term shutdowns at Ginna occur around every 18 months.
During shutdowns, hundreds of additional temporary workers are brought in for a period lasting roughly 30 days. The workers perform necessary maintenance, repairs, equipment replacements, internal equipment inspections and upgrades.
In order to access equipment, insulation is removed and later replaced when the work is done.
During the time when asbestos insulation was used at Ginna, removing and replacing insulation created large amounts of asbestos dust that workers inhaled and ingested.
Asbestos dust was also generated when workers scraped off and replaced asbestos gaskets and packing.
The NRC noted in its 1982 report that Ginna’s asbestos-containing materials were in the process of being replaced by non-asbestos materials. But since diseases such as mesothelioma can take 15 to 60 years to develop, plant workers from the 1980s and earlier are still at risk of developing an asbestos-related condition.
Screenhouse at Ginna
Nuclear power plants have intake structures known as screenhouses that use water from nearby lakes, rivers and streams for cooling the turbine condenser.
The Ginna Nuclear Power Plant withdraws its cooling water from Lake Ontario. The plant’s screenhouse contains circulating water pumps, service water pumps and associated pipes and valves. It also has a boiler for heating the building.
Like equipment in the main plant, screenhouse equipment was insulated with asbestos materials and contained asbestos gaskets and packing.
Plant workers who disturbed asbestos during inspection, maintenance and repair activities may have inhaled or ingested the dangerous mineral fibers.
Ginna Plant Workers Win an Asbestos Settlement
Seventeen Rochester-area power plant workers received a multi-million-dollar settlement from asbestos companies in 2000.
The plaintiffs, all men aged 56 to 75 years old, worked at Ginna and other plants owned by the Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation. They were diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Ginna Workers At Most Risk of Asbestos Exposure
Workers who handled and disturbed asbestos materials at Ginna Power Plant are the most likely to have been exposed to asbestos. However, because asbestos fibers can remain airborne for hours and drift for long distances, other workers could have been exposed as well.
Ginna power plant workers who have the greatest risk of asbestos exposure include:
- Boiler workers
- Cement finishers
- Pump room operators
- Furnace workers
- Insulation workers
- Maintenance workers
- Reactor workers
- Foremen and superintendents
Family members of Ginna employees are also at an increased risk of developing an asbestos disease from fibers brought home on a worker’s clothes, shoes, skin or hair.
If you lived with someone who worked at Ginna and have recently been diagnosed with an asbestos illness, our knowledgeable attorneys can discuss your rights to compensation from this “take-away” exposure.
Asbestos Trust Funds for Ginna Nuclear Power Plant Victims
Asbestos companies that filed for bankruptcy were required to set aside trust funds to pay past, current and future victims of asbestos diseases.
A number of trusts name the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant as a jobsite where asbestos materials were used. Ginna workers diagnosed with a qualifying asbestos disease may be entitled to trust fund compensation.
Although an attorney is not required to make a trust fund claim, it’s advisable to seek a lawyer’s help. You may be eligible for compensation from more than one asbestos trust.
Our experienced attorneys are familiar with all available trust funds and can identify which one(s) you may be able to receive compensation from. Belluck & Fox can also help with an appeal if your asbestos trust fund claim is denied.
Two trust funds that could provide compensation for former Ginna workers include:
- Babcock & Wilcox: Used asbestos-containing materials in its boiler systems. B&W boilers were in place at Ginna since at least 1970, according to trust documents. Anyone who installed, maintained or repaired B&W boilers at Ginna may be able to make a claim with the $1.85 billion trust.
- Owens Corning: Kaylo insulation products contained asbestos until the 1970s. Owens Corning also purchased Fibreboard Corporation, which used asbestos in its building products through 1972. Trust documents indicate that Owens Corning asbestos products were installed at Ginna Power Plant. Funded with more than $7 billion, it is one of the largest asbestos trusts.
Protecting the Rights of Asbestos Victims
Your asbestos exposure at Ginna Nuclear Power Plant may have occurred decades ago, but it is not too late to take legal action.
If you worked at Ginna and have an asbestos-related disease, the dedicated mesothelioma attorneys at Belluck & Fox will fight to recover maximum compensation for you and your family.
To learn more, contact us for a free consultation.
Driving Direction from R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant to Belluck & Fox
- U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
- Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants, R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant
- Survey of Insulation Used in Nuclear Power Plants and the Potential for Debris Generation
- New York Times: 17 Utility Workers Settle Lawsuit Over Asbestos
- Exelon: R.E. Ginna
- B&W Asbestos Trust
- Owens Corning/Fibreboard Asbestos Trust