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Salt waste plant can be finished

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The U.S. Department of Energy gave a final go-ahead Tuesday to initiate the long-delayed full construction phase of Savannah River Site's $1.34 billion Salt Waste Processing Facility.

The 146,000-square-foot facility should go into operation in three to four years, according to department officials. The project was originally scheduled to be completed this year, but it was delayed and reworked over concerns about its design and vulnerability to seismic activity.

Parsons Infrastructure & Technology Group Inc. was selected in 2004 to design, construct, start up and operate the facility for one year. At its peak, the project will employ more than 400 construction and support personnel.

Of the 36 million gallons of radioactive Cold War nuclear waste in SRS tanks, 33 million gallons are liquid and salt cake suitable to enter the facility, which will separate high-activity radionuclides from low-activity salt waste. After separation, the high-activity salt waste will be encapsulated in glass at the Defense Waste Processing Facility and stored nearby until disposal in a geologic repository.

In September 2007, when the Energy Department initiated limited construction and procurement activities for the salt waste facility, Parsons had completed the concrete base mat of the Central Processing Area building, installed walls for the first floor and completed an emergency spillway and underground utilities for the administration building.

The facility is not the largest pending project at SRS. The Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, which will convert 34 metric tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium into commercial nuclear reactor fuel, will cost about $4.8 billion.

Reach Rob Pavey at (706) 868-1222, ext. 119, or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.

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SCEagle Eye
933
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SCEagle Eye 01/14/09 - 08:49 am
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Let's hope that the

Let's hope that the demonstration of the process managing "salt waste" will work. If not, there will be a fight over attempts to dump more radiation into concrete and leave on the site. Sounds like the earliest start-up of any production-scale facility would be late 2013 and that could slip.

jhvenier
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jhvenier 01/14/09 - 09:34 am
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There is a process, a clear

There is a process, a clear understanding, as with any type of process involved with highly radiated waste. The idea that the process would be violated for the processing and inclusion of any waste above the allowable is purely absurd. This is a skeptics view of ridicous views with no merit, usually the same with anti-nuclear power groups. To violate the plan and process would be criminal, this is a position SRS would not want to even be close to being open to.

SandyK2005
1
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SandyK2005 01/14/09 - 02:58 pm
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"but it was delayed and

"but it was delayed and reworked over concerns about its design and vulnerability to seismic activity." ----- Yeah, like the long awaited -- and overdue -- Charleston earthquake. The same type of earthquake that even left Augusta, over 150 miles away, experiencing damages. Our earthquakes are over bedrock which magnifies the seismic waves, so when Charleston get the "big one" all the way to Augusta (and Plant Vogle) will experience the structure damages it will bring.

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 01/14/09 - 10:18 pm
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I had a part time job

I had a part time job counting the eyes on the frogs around the SRS wetlands. There are some strange creatures around there.

jhvenier
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jhvenier 01/15/09 - 07:48 am
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It was not delayed, there are

It was not delayed, there are cycles of review. A design change was made on the foundation. This was during one of the review cycles during the design of a plant review is performed and approved at stages. This does not affect the early permit construction. California nuclear plants are subject to earth quakes, at times on a daily basis. If a quake is too strong it will automatically shut down. Whould you rather have the waste sitting in tanks waiting for a possibility of the worst?, or would you rather have the problem being taken care of? What are you going to complain about next?? Chicken little and the sky falling?/ Get a grip!! OH, I used to live in the Augusta and Aiken area, there are a lot of strange creatures walking around on two legs!!

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