AIKEN, S.C. - Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), the Savannah River Site’s (SRS) managing and operating contractor, has made significant progress in decommissioning the legacy facilities in an area of the Site known as F Area with recent work completed in Building 235-F and F/H Analytical Laboratory.
“The entirety of legacy facilities in F Area are expected to be placed in surveillance and maintenance mode by 2024,” said SRNS President and CEO Stuart MacVean. “Along with F Canyon, which was partially deactivated before SRNS took over the prime contract, closing down these two additional facilities will make a big impact on reducing our operational footprint.”
Since late 2012, SRNS has been executing the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Implementation Plan for Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board Recommendation 2012-1 to reduce the hazards associated with the material at risk, namely plutonium, that remains as residual contamination in Building 235-F.
Building 235-F at SRS was part of the original construction in the early 1950s and was utilized for several production missions throughout its operational life, each of which has left a mark on the robust facility. Its operations have benefited the nation’s defense, NASA and DOE. SRNS reduced risk at 235-F by removing residual plutonium contamination to lessen risks to co-located workers. With the risk reduction portion of the project complete, the project team transitioned in May 2020 to deactivating the facility. Deactivation will place the facility in a stable condition for long term safe storage until the 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 and utilized one of F Area legacy facilities, the F/H Analytical Laboratory. SRNL used the analytical laboratory in F Area to support analyses on a wide range of mediums, such as soil, water, gases, foodstuffs, decommissioning debris, waste, process control, accountability, nuclear safety and industrial hygiene samples.
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 will save millions annually in facility costs and provide for closure of F Area legacy facilities. By the end of January, all 59 Laboratory Methods will have been relocated and established in A Area. Deactivation of the legacy F/H Laboratory will begin in FY2021 and is scheduled to complete in FY2024. Already, 21 laboratories have been taken out of service in the F Area Analytical facilities no longer in use, and a number of gloveboxes and have also been cleaned out to accelerate deactivation activities next year.
“I am proud of the safe manner that SRNS has conducted this work,” said MacVean. “Cleaning up from a legacy of nuclear materials work is a long process and involves coordination between DOE, SRNS, state and federal regulators. We pride ourselves on delivering on our environmental commitments and this work is just another example of how we make the world safer.”
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