Salt Waste Processing Facility – Phase II – Aiken, SC
- U.S. Department of Energy
Commissioning, Construction, Design, Operations & Maintenance, Planning, Qualifications, Validation
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, had produced the basic materials required to fabricate nuclear weapons for our nation’s defense programs.
After the Cold War the SRS changed its focus to environmental restoration and remediation. In 2004, the DOE selected us to design, build, commission, and operate for 1 year the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) that will eventually process 31 million gallons of radioactive salt waste stored onsite in large underground tanks at the SRS.
We completed construction of SWPF in April 2016, which was eight months ahead of the target schedule and more than $65 million under the target cost of the contract for construction activities. Now that construction is complete, we are focusing on testing the plant’s systems and training the workforce to operate the plant in preparation for the start of operations in 2018.
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 verify the operability, reliability, and maintainability of pertinent SWPF structures, systems, and components, as well as reduce risks.
In 2017, the SWPF team completed 1 million man-hours without a lost-time incident because of the integrated safety management system we implemented.
Once operational, the SWPF will significantly increase processing rates over the existing interim system in an effort to more rapidly empty the site’s waste tanks. Its key mission will be 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 will be sent to the nearby Defense Waste Processing Facility where it will be immobilized in glass and stored in vaults until it can be placed in a geological repository. The decontaminated salt solution will be mixed with cement-like grout at the nearby Saltstone facility for disposal onsite.
Featured Feb 2008/Updated Jul 2017