AIKEN, S.C. - EM celebrated another milestone in the cleanup of radioactive liquid waste stored at the Savannah River Site (SRS) with a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF).
The event marked the completion of construction of SWPF, a key component of the SRS liquid waste program.
SWPF will process the majority of the site’s salt waste inventory by treating highly radioactive salt solutions stored in underground tanks at SRS. Removing salt waste, which fills over 90 percent of tank space in the SRS tank farms, is a major step toward emptying and closing the site’s remaining 43 high-level waste tanks.
DOE-Savannah River Manager Jack Craig said SWPF is a “main cog” in the future of the site’s high-level liquid waste remediation.
“When operational, it will allow us to accelerate or more rapidly treat our salt waste at 10 times the rate it is being processed today,” said Craig.
Parsons, the contractor for SWPF, declared construction of the facility complete in April, eight months ahead of the renegotiated schedule and $60 million under budget.
Parsons Executive Vice President of Construction Services Anthony Leketa and Parsons Senior Vice President and SWPF Project Manager Frank Sheppard praised workers for the project’s successful completion.
“We at Parsons are so very proud of our team here on the ground in Aiken, led by Frank Sheppard, and what they have accomplished,” said Leketa.
EM Assistant Secretary Monica Regalbuto joined in the praise for SWPF.
Before Parsons signed the design contract in 2002, Regalbuto was among those working in research and development on processes that would one day be used in the operation of the facility.
Regalbuto said that if you are a chemical engineer, it is not often that you see a project go from the research and development stages to full operation.
The project will now transition to the testing and commissioning phase. Components and systems will be rigorously tested to ensure that they meet DOE’s strict safety and design requirements for waste processing. The facility is currently scheduled to begin radioactive operations in December 2018.
SWPF won the Department of Energy Secretary’s Project Management Improvement Award for 2015 and was recently named Project of the Year by the American Society of Civil Engineers, South Carolina Section.