Construction vehicles and equipment with workers demolishing a building

EM workers at the West Valley Demonstration Project prepare a large tank for loading after removing it from a liquid waste cell of the Main Plant Process Building.

WEST VALLEY, N.Y.EM and its cleanup contractor at the West Valley Demonstration Project have safely removed the largest of nine tanks from a liquid waste cell as part of the ongoing demolition of the Main Plant Process Building.

The tanks were used to collect liquid waste from past fuel reprocessing operations, and later, high-level waste vitrification processes.

The largest of the tanks that EM crews removed weighs 40,000 pounds. It was the main waste collection tank where acidic liquids were neutralized before the waste liquid was transferred through the system. The team will remove the remaining eight tanks as part of the cleanup project.

Crews with CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley (CHBWV) used an excavator with a hydraulic hammer to remove concrete and steel around the 40,000-pound tank for its safe removal.

Prior to the start of this work, they deactivated and stabilized all nine tanks with grout or foam to control any residual contamination at its source.

“Safety comes down to planning, preparation and robust controls,” said Stephen Bousquet, the EM West Valley assistant director of project management. “Our team understands the importance of performing work in a deliberate and methodical manner, especially when it involves challenging high-risk work while protecting our workforce, the public and the environment.”

The Main Plant is one of the last major facilities at EM’s West Valley cleanup site. Its successful demolition will further reduce environmental risks and position the site for the next cleanup phase.

“Having the right people, equipment and processes in place is how our team continues to leverage their combined knowledge and expertise to safely complete our cleanup mission,” CHBWV President and General Manager Jason Casper said. “I’m proud of the team’s accomplishment and the work they continue to do on this project.”

The Main Plant demolition is expected to be completed in the next fiscal year that starts this October.

-Contributor: Joseph Pillittere