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Savannah River Remediation Meets Production Goals

Nov 14, 2012
A Savannah River Remediation employee uses a manipulator arm during the filling of a canister inside the Defense Waste Processing Facility.

AIKEN, S.C. (November 14, 2012) – The Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF), the facility that glassifies highly radioactive waste from the Savannah River Site’s massive underground waste tanks, set a new production record.

During the fiscal year (FY12) that just ended on September 30, 2012, DWPF filled 275 stainless steel canisters with glassified waste meeting the canister production goal. This is the most canisters produced in any single year since the facility started up in March 1996.

Savannah River Remediation (SRR), the government contractor performing liquid waste operations at the Savannah River Site (SRS) since 2009, not only set a record at DWPF, the company achieved record-setting performance in other production facilities and accomplished all its fiscal year (FY12) production milestones in the process.

Dave Olson, SRR President and Project Manager, acknowledged the accomplishments recently in a report to employees.

“SRR employees have worked diligently during the year to meet and in some cases exceed our production goals,” Olson reported. “We finished FY12 in flying colors.”

Dispositioning waste in the tanks means that legacy waste consisting of a liquid salt solution and a sludge has to be removed first before waste tanks can be cleaned and operationally closed. The low radioactive salt waste is removed first followed by removal of the high radioactive sludge. The sludge is sent to the DWPF for processing.

Other facilities achieving record production years included the Actinide Removal Process (ARP) and Modular Caustic Side Solvent Extraction Unit (MCU), which removes radioactive chemicals and decontaminates radioactive salt waste. The ARP / MCU processed 704,457 gallons of salt waste. The target number was 700,000 gallons.

Production Goals

Disposing of decontaminated salt solution is the function of the Site’s Saltstone Production and Disposal facilities. During FY12, Saltstone processed 1,251,312 gallons of decontaminated salt solution and disposed of the waste on-site in concrete vaults. Saltstone’s targeted number was 1.2 million gallons.

“Safely disposing of legacy nuclear waste and closing waste tanks is a top priority for DOE,” said Terrel Spears, Assistant Manager for Waste Disposition Project, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-Savannah River Operations Office. “Setting and then meeting our goals, helps us measure our progress toward accomplishing our mission.”

This summer, Tanks 18 and 19 were operationally closed after they were cleaned and filled with grout. Work is continuing on Tanks 5 and 6, the next tanks slated for operational closure, scheduled for 2013.

SRS is owned by DOE. The SRS Liquid Waste contract is managed by SRR, a team of companies led by URS Corp. with partners Bechtel National, CH2M Hill and Babcock & Wilcox. Critical subcontractors for the contract are AREVA, Energy Solutions and URS Professional Solutions.


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