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Two Savannah River Site Projects Gain National Recognition

June 21, 2011 - 12:00pm

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AIKEN, SC – The Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site has received Environmental Sustainability (EStar) awards from DOE for two projects growing out of technology research, development and application at the Savannah River National Laboratory.

EStar awards recognize excellence in pollution prevention and sustainable environmental stewardship. They are awarded for projects and programs that reduce environmental impacts, enhance site operations, and reduce costs.

One award, for Renewable Technology Development, Deployment and Education in South Carolina, is a collaboration between SRNL and the Economic Development Partnership of South Carolina. Through collaboration, SRNL has shared expertise and knowledge of renewable energy technologies with EDP, which in turn has leveraged existing relationships with industry to identify and evaluate specific opportunities. The results have ranged from emissions reductions (through deployment and staging of hydrogen and wind energy technology) to community education programs.

The second award recognized a project to remediate tritium-contaminated debris in an innovative, cost-effective way. SRNL identified and tested technology to remove tritium from contaminated concrete and soil by using a high heat source called a “thermal detritiation unit.” Each unit is a concrete block structure housing an array of commercially available heating elements, effectively removing the tritium over a period of time. The treated soil and concrete debris can be disposed at an on-site excavation site rather than sent offsite for disposal, reducing transportation, packaging and disposal costs. Over $1.6 million in transportation cost savings and an avoidance of 400,000 truck miles were realized from the deployment.

“These awards are hard to get, and we can all be justifiably proud that SRS has been recognized in this way,” said Dr. David Moody, manager of the Department of Energy’s Savannah River office. “This calls attention to the value of our National Laboratory as a technology engine, and the expertise we have in dealing with challenging cleanup issues. Both of these projects represent valuable contributions not only to the site, but to the region and to other DOE complex sites.”

DOE’s Steve Mackmull is the federal lead for the site’s Pollution Prevention program. John Harley of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions is the lead for the contractor organization.

The awards are among 15 granted by DOE out of 186 national entries. 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, please visit www.srs.gov/recovery.

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