AIKEN, S.C. – EM workers at the Savannah River Site (SRS) have reduced the amount of hazardous material in a facility once used to produce plutonium oxide as part of work to place it in safe shutdown.
Last year, DOE suspended plutonium oxide production at the facility, known as HB Line, and directed Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), the SRS management and operations contractor, to place the facility in a safe-shutdown status while preserving its capabilities for use in future DOE missions.
SRNS has worked to maintain the facility’s systems and equipment so they are in a ready-to-serve state and reduce hazardous materials by flushing vessels used in oxide production.
“Reducing inventory allows for more stable plant conditions and minimizes associated surveillances,” DOE Nuclear Materials Manager Maxcine Maxted said. “We appreciate the safe and efficient work done by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions to help reduce the inventory in HB Line and move closer to shutdown status.”
Crews flushed nine tanks used in chemical processing. Flushing involves adding a coordinated series of non-radioactive solutions to the tanks. The solutions are moved through the processing line, sending the bulk of hazardous material contents into holding tanks in the adjacent H Canyon facility. Flushing continued until each HB Line tank contained less than residual quantities of plutonium. The hazardous materials now located in H Canyon holding tanks will be safely dispositioned through standard waste processing protocols.
“This was difficult work performed by a group of dedicated employees,” SRNS HB Line Deputy Facility Manager Amanda Barnes said. “We are proud to be a part of HB Line and the work that has been done here.”