In Memoriam: William (Bill) C. Borden


by Edward Walker, CHP, Resley Glenn, and Howard Dickson, CHP

William C. Borden, 72, of Burbank, Washington, died 14 October 2011 at Avalon Healthcare in Pasco, Washington, after a short illness. He was born in Ontario, Oregon, and lived in Burbank for the past 16 years.

Bill began his nuclear career in the Navy in the late 1950s aboard surface ships armed with nuclear weapons. After leaving the Navy, he joined General Electric Nuclear Division in San Jose, California, as a radiation safety technician in the fuel-fabrication department. He achieved the level of radiological engineer and, through self-developing his computer skills, was assigned responsibility as the criticality safety engineer for the department.

When General Electric moved its fuel fabrication to Wilmington, North Carolina, in the late 1960s, Bill transferred as the senior radiological engineer and facility criticality specialist for nuclear reactor fuel-fabrication operations. While there, Bill was assigned as the General Electric subject matter expert to ANSI N13.22, developing the standard on uranium bioassay and dosimetry. This standard contributed to the technical basis for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Regulatory Guide 8.11.

Upon leaving General Electric, Bill took his uranium experience to the uranium mining and milling industry as a technical consultant to sites through the western United States. When the uranium market dropped in the 1970s, Bill left the nuclear industry briefly and was a taxi cab driver and dispatcher in Reno, Nevada. Bill told of many weird but fascinating adventures (or maybe misadventures) in that field of endeavor to the great amusement of his friends and colleagues.

Bill rejoined the nuclear industry in 1983 with Bechtel in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, as a radiological engineer on the U.S. Department of Energy Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) project, ultimately becoming the health and safety manager for Bechtel on this project.

During this period, Bill became one of the last nondegreed individuals to pass the American Board of Health Physics certification examination in 1986, debatably considered the most difficult ever administered, since only 12 percent of examinees passed that year.

At Bechtel, Bill rose to the level of project manager on the initial Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) project for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Melton Valley waste sites. When Bechtel won the remediation contract at the Hanford, Washington, site, Bill joined CH2MHill in Richland, Washington. Since Bill had grown up on a ranch in Idaho, this was like returning home.

Bill left CH2MHill and went to work briefly for ATG as the operations manager for its Richland waste-processing operations. Bill concluded his nuclear career with Safety and Ecology Corporation as the Richland office manager and technical consultant on numerous radiological and hazardous remediation projects using computer skills developed throughout his career.

Bill retired in 2009 to spend time with his family and pursue hobbies. Even then, he continued to assist many of us by volunteering his extensive technical knowledge and computer skills.