NISKAYUNA, N.Y. EM recently marked a notable milestone at the Separations Process Research Unit (SPRU) when workers removed the last of seven large waste storage tanks from a vault and shipped it to an offsite low-level radioactive waste disposal facility.
The tanks were used to contain radioactive wastes from SPRU in the 1950s. They had sat empty after their contents were disposed off-site in the 1960s.
The recent achievement culminated months of preparation, including expert rigging to remove the tanks from the vault, where they had been housed for the past 60 years.
“This is a major milestone in the cleanup of the SPRU project. Our employees deserve great credit in completing this work safely, which sets the stage for project completion,” said Bob Smith, project manager for AECOM, which owns URS, EM’s contractor for the SPRU cleanup.
EM is responsible for the decontamination, demolition, and cleanup of SPRU, a 65-year-old Cold War facility. A pilot plant used for researching the separation of plutonium from irradiated uranium, SPRU operated between February 1950 and October 1953. It is collocated with Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, which is part of the network of DOE's national laboratories.