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The SRS Saltstone facilities where low-radioactive salt waste is stabilized and dispositioned.

SRS Beats Previous Records in Salt Processing

September 16, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. - The Department of Energy's (DOE) liquid waste contractor Savannah River Remediation (SRR) will end its fiscal year this month achieving historic records in processing salt waste at Savannah River Site (SRS).

Marking several first-ever accomplishments for DOE during Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) were the Saltstone Facilities and the Interim Salt Disposition Process (ISDP) facilities.

In August, the Saltstone facilities notched a weekly record by processing 266,604 gallons of decontaminated salt solution. The previous record was achieved in October 2012 when 251,456 gallons of salt waste was processed. For FY13, Saltstone exceeded processing two millions gallons of waste for the first time since beginning operations in June 1990, reaching the mark of 2,005,000 gallons processed on August 16, 2013.

The ISDP facilities achieved daily, weekly and yearly records in FY13, making this the best year of processing for the ISDP since beginning operations in April 2008.

The new processing records and previous processing records for each are:

The Modular Caustic Side Solvent Extraction Unit where radioactive constituents in the salt waste is separated prior to dispositioning.

Terrel Spears, Assistant Manager for Waste Disposition Project, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-Savannah River Operations Office, congratulated employees on achieving the production records.

"I congratulate the SRS workforce for reaching these milestones," Spears said. "Processing salt waste is essential for us and our mission to close tanks. The salt processing technologies utilized by SRR have proven very effective in removing the radioactive constituents from the waste and disposing of the waste."

Stuart MacVean, Interim SRR President and Project Manager, said meeting the milestones meant challenges were overcome and hard work accomplished by employees.

"This milestone would have never been accomplished if it was not for the hard work of SRR employees." MacVean said. "It took a lot of diligent work by numerous people across our combined facilities, and I sincerely appreciate the effort, patience, and determination shown by everyone."

Salt waste in SRS tanks make up about 90 percent of the waste volume. Removing the waste from the tanks is essential to the DOE and SRR mission of cleaning and operationally closing the liquid waste tanks.

The Saltstone facility receives low-level salt waste from the ISDP and mixes it with cement powders to form grout. This grout is then pumped into concrete storage containers for permanent disposal at SRS.

The ISDP facilities separate constituents in the salt waste and send the radionuclides to the Defense Waste Processing Facility, where they are mixed with silica-based frit, and then melted at over 1000 degrees C to form borosilicate glass. After treatment in ISDP, the resulting low-radioactive waste is transferred to the Saltstone facilities.

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.

Media Contact: Rick Kelley 803.208.0198

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