The plant that will be a key component in processing radioactive liquid waste at Savannah River Site was officially deemed completed Tuesday.
The Department of Energy held a ribbon cutting at the Salt Waste Processing Facility to mark completion of construction.
The facility, which had been under construction since 2012, will handle liquid waste rather than enriched plutonium.
It will process 90 percent of the site’s 36 million gallons of high-level waste left over from the manufacturing
of nuclear weapons that ended more than three decades ago.
The contractor started in 2012 and wrapped up its work in April, but the Energy Department spent the next 30 days checking it. That finish was eight months and $60 million better than original projections.
Monica C. Regalbuto, the assistant secretary of the Energy Department’s Office of Environmental Management, said at Tuesday’s ceremony that the benefits of the new plant extend beyond SRS’ liquid waste mission.
“We are taking a collaborative approach to leverage what we have accomplished with (the Salt Waste Processing Facility) to ensure successful start-up of other key facilities like the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit in Idaho
and the Waste Treatment Plant in Washington State,” she said.
Jack Craig, the manager of the DOE’s Savannah River Operations Office, said that, “Once operational, the Salt Waste Processing Facility will be a cornerstone facility for tank closures at SRS and to Environmental Management’s overarching mission of risk reduction.”
Executive Vice President of Construction Services for Parsons Government Services Anthony Leketa and Parsons Senior Vice President and SWPF Project Manager Frank Sheppard praised workers for the successful completion of the project.
“This is a key milestone for the project and for our workforce, who has performed so well by safely and efficiently completing construction activities on this facility,” Sheppard said.“But more importantly, we are one step closer to our ultimate goal of beginning operations and accelerating the cleanup missions of the Savannah River Site.”
The project will now transition to the testing and commissioning phase. The facility is currently scheduled to begin radioactive operations in December 2018.