October 6, 2014
AIKEN, S.C. - Savannah River Remediation (SRR) the liquid waste contractor at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Savannah River Site (SRS), located near Aiken, SC. made history this month by safely transferring radioactive liquid waste from F Tank Farm (FTF) to H Tank Farm (HTF) utilizing a central control room.
SRS has two tank "farms," which is where 37 million gallons of waste is stored in 45 large waste tanks. This 60,000-gallon waste transfer, used to help create space in tanks and prepare the waste for disposition, is the first inter-area transfer since September 2012. In addition, this is the first inter-area transfer controlled from H Area since the implementation of SRR's Control Room Consolidation (CRC) Project.
The inter-transfer line, which is about two miles long, has been out of service since 2012 for refurbishment and replacement of antiquated equipment.
During the past 50 years, the inter-area transfer line has played an integral role in the storage, treatment and disposal of waste between areas. The transfer line will continue to be used to execute the processing strategy for moving sludge waste through the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) and salt solution through the Actinide Removal Process (ARP)/Modular Caustic Side Solvent Extraction Unit (MCU) and, when operational, the Salt Waste Processing Facility.
The CRC Project, which began in 2005, centralizes the waste transfers into a single control room in HTF, and includes a fiber optic highway and the expanded use of Distributed Control System (DCS) automation and other state-of-the-art technologies.
Nearly a decade of work to consolidate most F and H Area control rooms into one facility was completed in April 2013 with the closure of two F Tank Farm control rooms.
Mike Borders, SRR's Director of Tank Farms, Effluent Treatment Facility and ARP/MCU, said the combination of improving the inter-area transfer line and the outstanding work on the CRC Project demonstrates innovative thinking.
"Our employees worked hard on both these projects. The inter-area line work is a key element in our future," Borders said. "Besides improving operations, the CRC also resulted in improved maintenance safety by reducing potential exposure to employees of hazardous energy, reducing the problem of finding replacement parts for old equipment and improve conduct of operations by eliminating difficult communications between control rooms."
Jim Folk, DOE-Savannah River Acting Assistant Manager for Waste Disposition, 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 disposition processes," Folk said. "Control room consolidation is another important and innovative step toward completing this vital task."
SRR is composed of a team of companies led by URS with partners Bechtel National, CH2M HILL and Babcock & Wilcox. Critical subcontractors for the contract are AREVA, EnergySolutions and URS Professional Solutions.