A system-wide outage of liquid waste facilities is underway at Savannah River Site, giving Savannah River Remediation the opportunity to conduct maintenance and prepare the system to tie-in with the newest facility.
Melter 2, a vital component in the Defense Waste Processing facility, failed at the beginning of February. The component had been operational for 14 years, 12 years longer than its expected lifetime. DWPF takes liquid waste, primarily from Cold War-era production, and turns it into glass for storage.
The failed component sparked an outage an SRR spokesman called “complex.” Spokesman Dean Campbell said outage work includes a number of organizations with their own scope of work to handle, but all are integrated because of overlaps.
“Two major projects – Defense Waste Processing Facility melter replacement and the liquid waste/Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) tie-in work – require other facility outages and specialized work in the interconnected liquid waste operations,” Campbell said in an email .
The SWPF construction was completed last April, signaling the beginning phases of cold operations testing. That process will verify systems work properly with material that is not radioactive. The tie-in process will integrate the facility into current infrastructure so that it can begin processing “hot” materials when ready. SWPF is expected to be fully online at the end of 2018.
Campbell said part of the outage for the tie-in process includes modification of piping currently connecting waste lines to a facility called the Modular Caustic Solvent Extraction Unit. That facility functioned as a smaller-scale test of functional and chemical designs for the SWPF.
Also part of melter replacement is preventative and corrective maintenance operations on essential DWPF systems that cannot be shut down for extended periods while the melter is active. Campbell called the outage the “optimum time” and said some of the work is done parallel to the melter replacement.
He said the work ensures the facility’s missions can be done safely and thoroughly in the future.
Savannah River remediation is in its final year as the liquid waste contract company at SRS. A number of teams submitted bid proposals when the U.S. Department of Energy released its final request for proposals last year, but it is not publicly known what those teams or bids contain.
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