|For Immediate Release||September 17, 2002|
|Media Contact:||Julie Petersen (803) 725-2889|
Aiken, SC - Today the Department of Energy (DOE) took the first step in commissioning a Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) at the Savannah River Site (SRS) by awarding two contracts for the facility's conceptual design. The SWPF is intended to process the high-level radioactive waste salt solutions currently stored in underground tanks at SRS.
The Department awarded Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracts to Parsons Infrastructure & Technology Group, Inc., and Foster Wheeler USA Corporation for preparation of conceptual designs (Phase I) for the SWPF. The contracts are being awarded today after a full and open competition. Four companies submitted proposals that were extensively reviewed by the Department.
The estimated duration of the Phase I contracts is 12-15 months, with an approximate contract value of $10 million each. Upon completion of initial conceptual design, DOE will select one contractor to perform the remaining design, procurement, construction, and commissioning of the Salt Waste Processing Facility (Phase II).
As documented in the Department's Savannah River Site Salt Processing Alternatives Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (October 2001) and subsequent Record of Decision (November 2001), a Salt Waste Processing Facility would provide the capability to separate high-activity cesium from the low-activity salt waste, using a caustic-side solvent extraction technology for the separation process. After separation, the high-activity salt waste (strontium/actinide solids and concentrated cesium solution) would then be vitrified in the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) and stored until it could be disposed of in a geologic repository. The low-activity salt waste would be disposed of as saltstone in vaults at SRS. High-level radioactive sludge waste continues to be successfully vitrified at DWPF, with over 1300 glass waste canisters produced since radioactive operations began in 1996.