AIKEN - A Savannah River Site facility that helped produce one-third of the nation's weapons-grade plutonium during the Cold War has been deactivated, officials said Monday.
The facility, known as FB Line, supported defense efforts for more than three decades, beginning in the late 1950s, according to site contractor Washington Savannah River Co.
The facility turned plutonium-239 into a hockey puck-size metal form called a button.
It was placed on standby at the end of the Cold War, and was restarted in 1995 to stabilize remaining materials.
The FB Line was in the F Area, where deactivation work has been completed during the past three years. Most of the workers there have been reassigned, concentrating now on cleanup of the site.
F Canyon is one of two chemical separation plants at SRS, and FB Line is located on its roof. FB Line is two stories tall, covering about 68,000 square feet.
The original FB Line, built in the early 1950s, was situated in the canyon. Later that decade, the facility now known as FB Line was built.
Plutonium processing ended in F Canyon in 2002, and deactivation began. Workers packaged and shipped more than 1,600 plutonium items to other SRS facilities, completing de-inventory in February 2005. Some areas had not been operational or entered in years, presenting some challenges.
Waste, including protective clothing, tools and machinery generated from the deactivation - enough to fill a two-car garage - was sent to the site's waste management facility.
Access to FB Line will be reduced to quarterly entries to ensure safety.
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