AIKEN, S.C. – The F Canyon box remediation program, an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project at Savannah River Site (SRS), has come online to process legacy transuranic (TRU) waste for off-site shipment and permanent disposal at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), a geological repository in New Mexico. The $40-million facility will process approximately 330 boxes containing TRU waste with a radiological risk higher than seen in the rest of the Site’s original 5,000-cubic-meter inventory.
“The F Canyon box program provides a different level of remediation that will allow SRS to make much of our TRU waste with higher radiological activity eligible to leave the Site,” said Dr. David Moody, manager, U.S. Department of Energy-Savannah River. “This program is key to the SRS accelerated TRU program.”
F Canyon box remediation joins several other Recovery Act programs that are removing noncompliant items and repacking waste before it is sent to WIPP in 55-gallon drums or compliant boxes. The F-Canyon drum remediation program, for example, removes prohibited items that X-ray technology has identified – typically aerosol cans, liquids, and sealed containers – and repackages the waste in new 55-gallon drums.
“F Canyon box remediation is the last phase needed for the remediation program,” said Allen Neiling, integration manager for the accelerated TRU program at SRS. “This facility allows remediation of the innermost packaging, giving operators the opportunity to remove prohibited items that are the most difficult to reach. F Canyon box remediation addresses noncompliant issues that are inaccessible in other facilities. It completes the entire program.”
Once in F Canyon, the box containing the prohibited item is transferred through a series of air-lock chambers before reaching the warm canyon truckwell. Here, the box is opened, and waste operators find the prohibited item based on where the X-ray has identified it to be. The prohibited item then is removed or remediated. When finished, the box is sent back to E Area for certification and shipment to WIPP.
An estimated $55 million from the Recovery Act will fund TRU waste box remediation activities at F Canyon.
“Dispositioning legacy TRU waste is one of the top cleanup priorities at SRS. Much of this waste has been stored at the site since the 60’s and 70’s. The Recovery Act funded activities at F Canyon are helping SRS accelerate TRU waste remediation to successfully reach a goal of shipping 5,000 cubic meters of legacy TRU waste to WIPP before December 31, 2012,” said Paul Hunt, vice president of the Recovery Act portfolio.
Additional information on the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management and the Savannah River Site can be found at http://www.em.doe.gov or http://www.srs.gov. For more information about the SRS Recovery Act Project, visit www.srs.gov/recovery.