Office of Environmental Management

DUF6 Conversion Project Off to Strong Start Following Improvements

January 22, 2019

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PPPO Manager Robert Edwards, shaking hands with Mid-America Conversion Services Union Safety Representative Jeremy Bates & personnel at EM’s Portsmouth Site for a group photo to commemorate all seven DUF6 Conversion Project production lines in operation.
PPPO Manager Robert Edwards, shaking hands with Mid-America Conversion Services Union Safety Representative Jeremy Bates & personnel at EM’s Portsmouth Site for a group photo to commemorate all seven DUF6 Conversion Project production lines in operation.

LEXINGTON, Ky.EM converted 5,110 metric tons of depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) into a more stable form from October through December last year, well over halfway to its goal of 9,000 metric tons for fiscal 2019.

   The DUF6 Conversion Project returned all seven of its production lines to simultaneous operation in 2018 following several pauses for safety and maintenance purposes. The project completed facility and process improvements at both its Ohio and Kentucky facilities aimed at safety, efficiency, and improved production.

   “This past year, the DUF6 project implemented facility improvements and operational efficiencies that build a foundation for sustained safe production,” said Robert Edwards, manager of EM’s Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office (PPPO).

DUF6 project directors and work crews at EM’s Paducah Site commemorate all seven production lines in operation.
DUF6 project directors and work crews at EM’s Paducah Site commemorate all seven production lines in operation.
A new hydrogen-generation unit at the Paducah DUF6 facility was one of many upgrades to the DUF6 Conversion Project completed in 2018.
A new hydrogen-generation unit at the Paducah DUF6 facility was one of many upgrades to the DUF6 Conversion Project completed in 2018.

   Other major achievements by the DUF6 project in 2018 include:

  • Operations and maintenance prime contractor Mid-America Conversion Services surpassed 3-million work hours without a lost-time injury;
  • Crews prepared the 100-millionth pound of aqueous hydrofluoric acid coproduct for recycling;
  • Cylinder transfer systems and cylinder evacuation rooms began operations to address non-standard DUF6 storage cylinders;
  • New systems for generating hydrogen, key to the conversion process, were installed at both sites, replacing less-reliable systems.

   The DUF6 project has converted more than 70,000 metric tons of DOE’s more than 800,000-metric-ton inventory of DUF6 since the conversion facilities were commissioned in 2010 at the former Portsmouth and Paducah gaseous diffusion plant sites.

 

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