Originally created 05/30/97

DWPF repairs continue



Repairs are under way at a Savannah River Site waste processing plant damaged by lightning Tuesday, and production should resume within a week, an SRS spokesman said.

The Defense Waste Processing Facility, a factory turning liquid waste into glass, suffered equipment damage during an early morning thunderstorm and had to shut down. Since then, employees have worked around-the-clock to get DWPF back on line, Westinghouse Savannah River Co. spokesman Dean Campbell said Thursday.

"Looks like we will be pouring again about mid-week next week," he said. "Once (repairs) have been finished we have to test the machinery and the equipment again. And once these tests prove that everything works properly - and we think they will - we will be pouring again."

The molten waste glass mix is poured into steel canisters at DWPF to harden. The encased glass logs can then be stored safely underground for thousands of years. The waste, a byproduct from Cold War nuclear weapons production, is highly radioactive.

It remains unclear where on SRS the lightning hit and how the surge of electricity made it into the waste plant. Investigators believe it might have traveled underground.