Salt Waste Processing Facility – Phase II – Aiken, SC

  • U.S. Department of Energy
Project Value

$2.3 billion


Energy And Environment, Federal Infrastructure, Health And Biosciences


Design And Urban Planning, Engineering, Program/Construction Management (PM/CM)

Processing Radioactive Waste

For more than 25 years, Parsons has supported the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) at its Savannah River Site (SRS). The site, originally constructed in the 1950s by the Atomic Energy Commission, produced the basic materials required to fabricate nuclear weapons for our nation’s defense programs.

After the Cold War, the SRS shifted focus to environmental restoration and remediation. In 2004, the DOE selected us to design, build, commission, and operate for one year the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF), which will eventually process 31 million gallons of radioactive salt waste stored onsite in large underground tanks

Ahead of Schedule, Under Budget

We completed construction of SWPF in April 2016, eight months ahead of the target schedule and more than $65 million under the target cost of the contract for construction activities. After construction was complete, we tested the plant’s systems and trained the workforce to operate the plant in preparation for the start of operations in 2018.

Custom Solutions

To obtain the data necessary for the design of this one-of-a-kind facility, our team developed two specific programs:

  • Engineering Development and Demonstration Test Program
  • Reliability and Maintainability Evaluation Program

These two programs verified the operability, reliability, and maintainability of pertinent SWPF structures, systems, and components, as well as reduced risks.

Safe Operations

In 2017, the SWPF team completed 1 million man-hours without a lost-time incident because of the integrated safety management system we implemented.

The Process

Operating today, the SWPF has significantly increased processing rates over the former system, more rapidly emptying the site’s waste tanks. The facility is carrying out its key mission to separate and concentrate highly radioactive waste—mostly cesium, strontium, actinides and waste slurry—from the less radioactive salt solution. After completing the initial separation process, the concentrated high-activity waste is sent to the nearby Defense Waste Processing Facility where it’s immobilized in glass and stored in vaults until it can be placed in a geological repository. The decontaminated salt solution is mixed with cement-like grout at the nearby Saltstone facility for disposal onsite.

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