A Savannah River Site contractor hired to process the site’s radioactive salt waste passed its first of two contract milestones for 2012 with the interim disposition of more than 500,000 gallons of the material.
Savannah River Remediation uses chemical processes to remove most radioactive isotopes — including cesium, plutonium and strontium — from salt waste in the site’s waste tanks before the remaining waste is sent to a separate facility for further processing.
The isotopes are transferred to the Defense Waste Processing Facility, where it is mixed with molten glass and placed in stainless steel canisters awaiting permanent storage.
The remaining low-level solution is converted into a grout cement mixture at the Saltstone facilities and pumped into concrete vaults for permanent disposal.
More than 2.5 million gallons of salt waste have been processed since the Modular Caustic Side Solvent Extraction Unit opened in 2008. The waste material was left behind by Cold War weapons programs once housed at SRS.