Savannah River Site celebrates completed reactor projects, cleanup funded by Recovery Act

  • Follow Metro

Workers celebrated the retirement Thursday of Savannah River Site’s most notable Cold War remnants.

Savannah River Site's long-defunct P reactor was permanently closed and sealed specially designed grout.  Special
Savannah River Site's long-defunct P reactor was permanently closed and sealed specially designed grout.

The long-defunct P and R reactors, brought online 60 years ago to make nuclear weapons materials, were permanently closed and sealed this year with 254,000 cubic yards of specially designed grout.

David Huizenga, the Energy Department’s acting assistant secretary for Environmental Management, joined federal and state regulators, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions workers, and others to celebrate the completion of the reactor projects and other cleanup milestones funded by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act.

“The accomplishments achieved through the Recovery Act, such as the closure of P and R Reactor Areas, are tremendous, but I commit to you that SRS is not a closure site,” Huizenga said, noting that SRS has a promising future through new missions in the areas of environmental stewardship, clean energy and national security.

The site received $1.6 billion in stimulus funds designed to accelerate cleanup efforts and free up large areas of the site for future missions.


• The decommissioning of the Heavy Water Components Test Reactor was completed in June 2011. This project required highly technical engineered lifts to remove the top of the reactor dome, steam generators and reactor vessel from the building. In addition, the radiation exposure for the 25-person team was less than the 620 millirems one average American receives in a year from medical and background sources. Completion of this project was accelerated by 13 years.

• In August 2010, M Area, which spanned 45 acres and included a reactor fuel manufacturing area, became the first operable unit to be closed under the Recovery Act at SRS in 2010. Nineteen waste units were remediated, process sewer line manholes were grouted and approximately 4,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils and concrete rubble were addressed as part of the remedial action.

• In D Area, large detritation units heated contents up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit to remediate 1,650 cubic yards of tritium-contaminated soils and concrete.

• The most visual of the clean-up projects, the 455-foot K Reactor Cooling Tower, was imploded in May 2010. The debris from the massive implosion was carted away for permanent dispositioning or recycling by August of that year. The project was completed with an excellent safety record and contributed 45 acres to the footprint reduction.

• Developed and installed melter bubbler technology, including a 3,000-gallon argon tank at the Defense Waste Processing Facility, which will increase production of vitrified waste into stainless steel storage canisters by approximately 40 percent.

• Procured and installed major items of equipment, including a 9,000-gallon nitrogen tank, two 60,000-gallon salt solution receipt tanks, a 35,000-gallon waste concentration hold tank, and 14 mixing, blending and transfer pumps, all to accelerate waste removal and tank closure.

• Performed modifications to tanks and facilities to support salt feed to the Salt Waste Processing Facility, including the development and installation of a 10,000-gallon chemical addition tank.

Comments (4) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Insider Information
Insider Information 09/29/11 - 07:13 pm
Will they also be celebrating

Will they also be celebrating how many jobs were saved or created by the Recovery then lost and eliminated by the Recovery Act?

On another issue, if a celebration is held in the woods and no one is there to celebrate, is there still a celebration? In other words, if you lay off hundreds of people, who is still around to celebrate? And, how was this "celebration" paid for?

KSL 09/29/11 - 07:17 pm
Well, it looks like the

Well, it looks like the source of the celebratory atmosphere is coming from an Obama admin official. Duh!!

PR 09/29/11 - 10:45 pm
And how about all the jobs

And how about all the jobs that SRNS had to elimnate due to mismanagement and bad cost controls? At least 1300 people no longer work there because the DoE hired a company that NO CLUE HOW TO RUN SRS. Typical DoE stupidity. On top of that you have injuries that never happended when WSR was running the place. SRNS is your worst nightmare. Only a matter of time until more jobs are cut or someone else gets hurt.

bjphysics 09/30/11 - 12:52 am
Remnant of the Cold War; SRS,

Remnant of the Cold War; SRS, you will be missed.

“1990-1993: …With the end of the Cold War, production of nuclear materials for weapons use ceased. The cooling tower was connected to the K Reactor, and the reactor operated briefly for the last time. …Transition and Community Assistance began.”

As a physicist, I considered applying for work at SRS in 1992, a colleague already at the Hanford facility told me the hand writing was on the wall; then he asked me if I could help him find work at Boeing. Some of the best and highest paying jobs in Augusta lost because those darn Russians gave up. Now the only brain jobs are at the Medical School and that tech-spook stuff at Ft. Gordon.

bjphysics 09/30/11 - 01:04 am
I just had a FOB vis-à-vis

I just had a FOB vis-à-vis Solyndra. Under DOE’s Energy's Loan Guarantee Program, the local golf course conveyance manufactures could get $1 billion to research, develop, and build solar powered golf carts.

That’s the ticket; I’ll apply for the CTO positions.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs
Top headlines
Crash kills Augusta man, 57
The coroner says an autopsy is planned, possibly Friday, into the death of an Augusta man killed Wednesday night in a single-car accident.