For Immediate Release October 11, 2006
Media Contact: James R. Giusti   (803) 952-7697

 

DOE Safely Reaches DNFSB Stabilization Milestone

 

AIKEN, S.C., (October 5, 2006) The Department of Energy announced today that it reached a major safety milestone in nuclear materials stabilization recently when the Savannah River Site stabilized the last of the materials identified under Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) recommendations.

 “This accomplishment fulfills DNFSB’s 94-1 and 2000-1 recommendations and is indicative of the Department's commitment to safe facility operations and safe stabilization of the legacy nuclear materials at SRS,” said Kevin Smith, DOE’s Assistant Manager for the Nuclear Materials Stabilization Project.  “This accomplishment also demonstrates what can be achieved through effective DOE and contractor teamwork.  Stabilization of DOE’s legacy neptunium solutions marks the successful completion of all 54 DNFSB nuclear material stabilization commitments.”

Materials stabilized under the DNFSB’s recommendations include about 100,000 gallons of plutonium solutions, about 20,000 reactor targets and assemblies, over 3,700 containers of plutonium residues, 3,800 gallons of americium/curium, 1,600 gallons of neptunium solutions, and 150,000 gallons of uranium solutions.  The last to be stabilized was the pre-existing neptunium solutions, which was recently converted into a more stable oxide form in HB Line’s Phase II facility.

 “SRS workers have shown their flexibility, versatility, and absolute commitment to safety during the 94-1 campaigns,” says Leo Sain, the Washington Savannah River Company executive vice president in charge of the Material Disposition Projects organization.  “The work has been done through the years in numerous areas and facilities at SRS, and the result has always been the same – safe, disciplined work.  I congratulate everyone who had a role in this accomplishment.”

 Neptunium-237 is a legacy from previous H Canyon processing.  It has been stored in H Canyon in liquid form since the 1980s and represents most of the United States’ last remaining inventory of neptunium. 

 In May 2003, Phase II completed a campaign to stabilize legacy plutonium-239 solution.  Workers then started preparing to restart with neptunium, which meant flushing systems, modifying the facility for the new feed, and conducting cold runs to allow operators to become proficient with the new process.  Phase II was restarted in September 2004.

 SRS is owned by DOE and operated by a team of contractors led by WSRC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Washington Group International.

-DOE-

SR-06-04

 

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