Aiken, SC – The Department of Energy (DOE) Savannah River Site (SRS) held a ceremony today to mark the start of operations of the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF). DOE Under Secretary for Science, Paul Dabbar was the guest speaker for the event.
The SWPF is the last major piece of the liquid waste system at SRS. This represents a leap forward in the Department’s ability to tackle the largest and one of the most challenging environmental risks – tank waste.
“SWPF is the final piece to what is an impressive and highly successful liquid waste program here. Bringing it online is a tremendous victory, not only for the site, but for the entire cleanup mission,” said Dabbar.
On Aug. 17, DOE approved Critical Decision 4 (CD-4), clearing the way for “hot” or radioactive operations to begin at the facility that will be the key component of the liquid waste program at the SRS. SWPF will process the majority of the site’s salt waste inventory by separating the highly radioactive constituents for treatment via vitrification, from the predominate low radioactive, large volume salts that will be treated for disposal on site. 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.
“This is a big day for us at the site, for the State of South Carolina, for the Department of Energy and, I believe, for the nation as we recognize completion of SWPF which will usher in a new era in the processing radioactive material,” said DOE Manager for the Savannah River Operations Office Mike Budney.
Parsons Corporation, who designed and built the first-of-a-kind facility, will operate it for one year. DOE and Parsons are completing the remaining commissioning activities necessary for the introduction of radiological material into the facility.
“We’re celebrating a historic milestone in the transition to fill operations of the Salt Waste Processing Facility,” said Parsons Chief Executive Officer and President Chuck Harrington.
The SWPF remains on track to start up this year and will significantly increase the ability to empty and close the high-level radioactive waste tanks. The first transfer of waste to SWPF is currently scheduled for the first week of October.
Also attending the event were Congressman Joe Wilson, U.S. House of Representatives, William "Ike" White, DOE Senior Advisor for Environmental Management to the Under Secretary for Science, and representatives from Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott’s offices.
The ceremony was recorded and is available in its entirety on the SRS YouTube channel.
Participating in the start of operations ribbon cutting ceremony for SWPF were (from left): Rep. Joe Wilson, U.S. House of Representatives; Parsons Chief Executive Officer and President Chuck Harrington; DOE Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar; DOE-Savannah River Manager Mike Budney; DOE Senior Advisor for Environmental Management to the Under Secretary for Science William "Ike" White; Parsons President and Chief Operating Officer Carey Smith; Federal Project Director for SWPF Pam Marks and Parsons Senior Vice President and Project Manager for SWPF Frank Sheppard.
Amy Boyette, Director Office of External Affairs
U.S. Department of Energy
(803) 952-6120, firstname.lastname@example.org