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An aerial view of F Area at the Savannah River Site. Building 235-F is highlighted in yellow, F/H Analytical Laboratory facilities are highlighted in orange, and F Canyon/FB Line are shown in purple.
An aerial view of F Area at the Savannah River Site. Building 235-F is highlighted in yellow, F/H Analytical Laboratory facilities are highlighted in orange, and F Canyon/FB Line are shown in purple.

AIKEN, S.C.EM and the management and operations contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS) have made significant progress in decommissioning legacy facilities in an area of the site known as F Area.

“The entirety of legacy facilities in F Area are expected to be placed in surveillance and maintenance mode by 2024,” Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) President and CEO Stuart MacVean said. “Along with F Canyon, which was partially deactivated before SRNS took over the prime contract, closing down Building 235-F and the F/H Analytical Laboratory facilities will make a big impact on reducing our operational footprint.”

Since late 2012, SRNS has been executing DOE’s Implementation Plan for Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board Recommendation 2012-1 to reduce hazards associated with at-risk material — namely plutonium, which remains as residual contamination in Building 235-F.

Built in the early 1950s, Building 235-F was used for several production missions throughout its operational life, each of which left a mark on the robust facility. Its operations have benefited the nation’s defense, NASA, and DOE.

Workers reduced risk at 235-F by removing residual plutonium contamination. After completing the risk reduction portion of the project, they transitioned last year to deactivating the facility. Deactivation will place the facility in a stable configuration for long-term safe storage until its eventual decommissioning.

Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) has performed analytical sampling from radiochemical processing and radiological environmental monitoring programs at facilities across the site for over 55 years. SRNL used the analytical laboratory in F Area to support analyses on soil, water, gases, decommissioning debris, and other materials.

To reduce costs and streamline capabilities, SRNS and SRNL are nearing the end of a multi-year project to relocate analytical services and methods from SRNL’s analytical laboratory facilities in F Area to SRNL’s main laboratory in A Area, several miles away.

This initiative will save millions annually in facility costs and provide for closure of F Area legacy facilities. Deactivation of F/H Laboratory will begin this fiscal year and is scheduled for completion in fiscal 2024.

“I am proud of the safe manner that SRNS has conducted this work,” MacVean said. “Cleaning up from a legacy of nuclear materials work is a long process and involves coordination among DOE, SRNS, and state and federal regulators.”

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