June 25, 2013
AIKEN, S.C. - Nearly a decade of work to consolidate six control rooms into a single facility at the Savannah River Site (SRS) tank farms is nearing completion with the recent closure of two F Tank Farm control rooms.
Signing off the command and control functions of the 1F and 74F control rooms last month marked the end to over 50 years of service. This brought the number of control rooms remaining for consolidation to one.
The control room consolidation (CRC) project that began in 2005, is designed to centralize an operator's control functions to a single control room in the H Tank Farm. The consolidation efforts have been extensive, according to Savannah River Remediation (SRR) CRC Project Manager Ricky Doniphan.
"Considerable work has been completed to this point including design and software changes, installation of new equipment and miles of fiber optic highway, and thousands of wiring changes in the field," Doniphan said. "Plus, we have had extensive startup testing, operator and support training, consolidation of the emergency preparedness program and well over 1,000 procedure changes. The work has been huge, but the team has contributed to the safe execution of the project."
Doniphan said CRC will benefit the tank farms' command and control functions and eliminate the need to update obsolete components currently installed in aging control rooms.
Besides improving operations, CRC will also advance maintenance safety by reducing potential exposure to employees of hazardous energy (electricity, steam, and high-pressure steam or air), and boost conduct of operations by eliminating difficult communications between control rooms.
Stuart MacVean, SRR Operations and Deputy Project Manager, said consolidated control rooms using a state-of-the-art digital control system will have many advantages.
"Most importantly, conduct of operations, which is our ability to efficiently and effectively operate the various facility processes, will be greatly streamlined and enhanced with the consolidation and modernization project," MacVean said. "Replacing the 1950s era control systems with this new technology improves the safety of our workers and reduce future maintenance costs. We expect a cost savings of approximately $18.5 million."
CRC activities began with closing four control rooms and a waste transfer diversion box, which was utilized through control room commands to send waste from one tank to another and sometimes from one tank farm to the other tank farm. The final control room, 18F, located in F Tank Farm, will be closed later this year when an operator signs off on a log sheet, turning command and control functions over to the 3H control room, located over 2.2 miles away.
Terrel Spears, Assistant Manager for Waste Disposition Project, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-Savannah River Operations Office, called CRC an innovative step taken by SRR to safely manage SRS tank waste.
"At SRS, we are being proactive to seek methods to remove the waste and use safe, long-term storage or disposition processes," Spears said. "Control room consolidation is another important and innovative step toward completing this vital task."
SRS is owned by DOE. The SRS Liquid Waste contract is managed by SRR, a team of companies led by URS Corp. with partners Bechtel National, CH2M Hill and Babcock & Wilcox. Critical subcontractors for the contract are AREVA, Energy Solutions and URS Professional Solutions.
Point of Contact: Rick Kelley, Rick.Kelley@srs.gov