RICHLAND, Wash. – EM Richland Operations Office prime contractor Central Plateau Cleanup Company (CPCCo) has awarded a subcontract to continue critical risk-reduction work along the Columbia River at the Hanford Site.
The primary tasks for Richland-based Intermech Inc., include installing a system to pump out 1.2 million gallons of water from the K West Reactor spent fuel storage basin and filling it with a mixture of engineered grout and controlled density fill — similar to concrete — to prepare the structure for removal through demolition.
“Stabilizing and removing the basin are important steps toward cocooning the reactor,” said Kelly Ebert, DOE team lead for cleanup in the K Reactor Area. “Each of these steps also bring us closer to completing cleanup of this reactor area near the river.”
The Intermech contract also includes construction of a mock-up to test the properties of the grout and the pumping methods before filling the basin.
The concrete basin is approximately 130 feet by 65 feet. It was built in the early 1950s to temporarily store irradiated uranium fuel pushed out of the back of the reactor core during plutonium production operations. Contaminated water pumped out of the basin will be transported to Hanford’s Effluent Treatment Facility for processing and disposal.
Current work on the multiphase project includes characterizing and cutting up debris in the basin, such as contaminated tools and equipment. Workers remotely sort, wash and load the debris into steel tubes, where it will be grouted and removed for disposal during basin demolition.
“Our team has already made tremendous progress to prepare the K West Basin for demolition,” said Zachary Dean, the prime contractor’s fieldwork supervisor. “The next phase of the project puts us on the home stretch to finish the job and ultimately eliminate another risk to the nearby Columbia River.”
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