The Salt Waste Processing Facility during construction.

Eighteen years ago, the Department of Energy (DOE) and Parsons embarked on a mission to revolutionize the treatment of radioactive waste contained in the underground liquid waste storage tanks at the Savannah River Site (SRS).

We are now poised to begin transfer of radioactive material into the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) and begin processing waste at eight times faster than the recent treatment rates. On August 17 the DOE achieved Critical Decision 4 (CD-4) and Authorization to Operate the SWPF at SRS, marking the final major piece of the liquid waste treatment system to be completed at Savannah River.

One of our employees carried a Salt Waste Processing flag on his hike up ­Mt. Everest.

“The startup of SWPF is a testament to the commitment and dedication of the Parsons workforce over the last 12 years of construction and testing,” said Frank Sheppard, senior vice president, and SWPF project manager for Parsons. “The SWPF team has achieved this major milestone while focusing on safety and ensuring the long-term operational success of this first of a kind facility.”

In 2002, the DOE selected us to design, build, commission, and operate SWPF with the goal of processing 31 million gallons of radioactive salt waste stored in underground tanks at SRS.

An employee working on the CSSX tank cell operating deck.

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. We finished building SWPF in April 2016: eight months ahead of schedule and more than $65 million under the target cost of the contract for construction activities.

We have supported the Department of Energy at the Savannah River Site for more than 30 years and has served as the prime SWPF contractor since 2002, with responsibility for design, development, and commissioning as well as operating the facility for one year.

Employees assessing Cold Chemicals Area, R150 Work Area walk down.

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