Savannah River closes liquid waste structures in place

December 14, 2022, 12:03PMNuclear News

Two diversion boxes were covered with concrete to permanently close them from future use. Top, one of the boxes is shown prior to it being entombed in concrete. Bottom, the diversion box after workers placed concrete over and around the structure. (Photo: DOE)

Two previously radioactive structures have been successfully entombed at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The DOE’s Office of Environmental Management and the Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC), the DOE’s liquid waste contractor at SRS, placed concrete over and around two concrete structures—called diversion boxes—that contain a series of connection points that allowed high-level radioactive waste to be transferred from one tank or facility to another.

The two boxes have been out of service for more than 30 years. As part of the closure process, both structures were previously filled with grout, rendering them inoperable.

The boxes were the first ancillary structures closed in this way under SRMC’s liquid waste contract. They are located in the F Tank Farm, a grouping of large underground waste-storage tanks. The liquid waste program at SRS has closed eight of the site’s 51 massive waste tanks by filling them with cementitious grout.

Comments: Michael Budney, DOE-Savannah River manager, said the closure of the diversion boxes is another step in the overall goal of the liquid waste program. “Although there is still much to be done at the site’s tank farms, this closure marks another step in that process,” said Budney. “The safe handling and closing of structures such as these enables us to further reduce our total footprint.”

Dave Olson, SRMC president and program manager, said the integrity of the concrete placed over and around the boxes provides additional protection to workers, the public, and the environment. “As we continue to execute our mission, an important value will always be the safety of our people and protection of our surroundings,” Olson said. “Every job must be performed properly so that we can continue to live up to our standards.”

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