September 18, 2013
AIKEN, S.C. - Savannah River Remediation (SRR), the liquid waste contractor at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Savannah River Site (SRS), processed more radioactive waste and glass-filled canisters through the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) glassification facility in August 2013 than in any other month in the plant's 17-year history.
A total of 40 canisters were produced last month, exceeding the previous total of 37 canisters produced in December 2011. The 40 canisters equates to 151,616 pounds of glass poured.
"DWPF canister production started the year slow due to some technical challenges that we had to overcome, but the record month demonstrates the ability and resilience of our team," said Steve Wilkerson, Waste Treatment Project Director. "The team aggressively attacked each technical issue and overcame them by implementing numerous process improvements to increase production. We are now reaping the benefits from those improvements. I could not be more proud of what the team has accomplished."
What is also amazing is the work of the melter, DWPF's 64-ton tea-pot shaped melter, where hazardous waste mixed with borosilicate frit forms a molten mix that is poured into the stainless-steel canisters for temporary storage at SRS.
Wilkerson said that during August, the melter was fed waste a total of 710 hours out of a possible 744 hours in the month to accomplish the record.
"We have always said the melter is the heart of the DWPF process, but for it to feed and pour canisters for all but 34 hours during the month is nothing short of amazing," Wilkerson said.
Terrel Spears, Assistant Manager for Waste Disposition Project, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-Savannah River Operations Office, congratulated SRR and the DWPF employees and called their work essential to the SRS mission.
"This is a tremendous accomplishment and I congratulate all who were involved," Spear said. "Every canister poured means we are reducing the single most substantial environmental risk to people and the environment in the State of South Carolina."
Through August 2013, the DWPF has produced a total of 3,728 canisters since startup in 1996. It is estimated that 7,824 total canisters will be required to complete the liquid waste operations mission at SRS in the future.
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.
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