PIKE COUNTY, Ohio – Workers are moving nearly 5,000 tons of equipment from the X-333 Process Building to a demolition pad where the X-326 Process Building once stood at EM’s Portsmouth Site.
On the north end of the pad, crews are downsizing X-326 building remnants for disposal after taking down the two-story facility that covered 56 acres under roof last year — the site’s most significant cleanup milestone to date. Just south of there, workers will shear more than 600 coolers from X-333 to meet requirements for disposition at the site’s Onsite Waste Disposal Facility (OSWDF).
All of these moving parts have required significant coordination, including approval from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency before components could be moved and sheared. Crews from the X-333 and X-326 facilities, as well as safety, waste management, environmental remediation and radiation protection personnel, have worked together to make this happen.
“We are very proud of our workforce,” EM Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office Federal Project Director Jud Lilly said. “They took on the complicated task of removing, transporting and then shearing the first coolers from the X-333 facility, and did it safely.”
The X-333 crews have been staging coolers in and around the facility for the past month, wrapping them in heavy plastic for transfer to the downsizing location. Each cooler weighs more than 10,000 pounds and three are loaded onto a semi tractor-trailer for each trip to the X-326 pad. A large forklift unloads the truck and places the coolers onto cement slabs before another forklift moves each cooler to the pad for downsizing.
“Most of the Portsmouth Site was constructed in the 1950s. Now we are responsible for site cleanup,” Construction Manager Bill Jones said. “Like us, the equipment and buildings are part of our site history, a chapter closing to make room for the next one, and establishing the groundwork for future use and future jobs.”
Every job crews undertake at the Portsmouth facility is done safely and compliantly, or they don’t do it, said Michael Furner, director of demolition at Portsmouth contractor Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth.
“Protection of our employees and the environment are our highest priorities and are incorporated into all the work we do,” Furner said.
On the pad, two excavators equipped with hydraulic shear attachments make quick work of each cooler to downsize it for future disposal in the OSWDF.
Approximately 621 coolers and more than 115 compressors are scheduled to be moved to the X-326 pad by the end of March for downsizing. During past site operations, the compressors were used to feed process gas into enrichment converters and the gas was cooled by an internal stage cooler in each converter.
To receive the latest news and updates about the Office of Environmental Management, submit your e-mail address.