Our client’s insured was a metal recycling facility that had unknowingly accepted waste material, which was impacted by Radium-226 from a former medical facility. The radioactive waste was not detected by the facility’s radiation detectors and was processed and mixed with other waste streams. Several truckloads of the Radium-226 impacted material were transported to a second facility owned by the Insured and the radioactive waste triggered the second facility’s radiation detectors. The material was dumped at the second facility and mitigation of the radioactive impacts was performed at each property.
VERTEX reviewed invoices for the mitigation and the supporting documents. VERTEX identified that our client’s insured submitted costs for an unrelated contaminant condition. VERTEX disputed these costs; however, the insured retained counsel, who contended that the regulators had rescinded a previous less stringent remedial option prior to the Radium-226 impacts that would have avoided active remediation. Counsel alleged the only reason the regulators had imposed a more stringent remedial plan for the unrelated contaminants was due to the Radium-226 contamination. Following a comprehensive review of the regulations and the regulatory file, VERTEX was able to demonstrate that the less stringent remedial plan had never been approved and there was no regulation or statute that connected to unrelated contaminants to the Radium-226. As a result of our efforts, our client was able to successfully dispute approximately $250,000 in mitigation related costs that were not part of the subject loss.
Radioactive elements are naturally occurring unstable molecules that are present throughout the earth’s crust. Unlike most of the elements that exist in nature, these elements spontaneously lose energy or mass and decay into a less massive isotope or element. Most of the radioactive elements that exist in the earth’s crust are the result of the decay of Uranium that was accumulated in the earth’s crust when it was formed.