Mock-Up Project Lowers Risk for SRS Workers

"The mock-ups used for the liquid waste operations and SWPF tie-in project are an ideal way to test the execution of this important but hazardous scope," DOE-Savannah River Assistant Manager for Waste Disposition Jim Folk said. "Ultimately, it helps to determine the tools and techniques that will be needed to perform the tie-ins while reducing exposure to the workers."

The liquid waste contractor at the U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River Site in Aiken, S.C., has found a way to reduce risks to which Savannah River Remediation (SRR) workers could be exposed while modifying underground radioactive waste transfer lines in support of Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) integration, the site reported Nov. 1.

SRR is responsible for integrating the SWPF into SRS liquid waste facilities. SWPF, currently in testing and commissioning, will be the key facility to process remaining salt waste inventory at SRS. The integration work includes physical tie-ins of the transfer lines.

SRR construction workers completed an exploratory excavation of the transfer line area in December 2017 to determine the configuration needed for the line work, and it was discovered the transfer line to be modified had higher radiation rates than expected. To ensure the construction workers could safely perform the task, a mock-up of the excavation was performed to resolve potential issues. The mock-up included other transfer lines that were within the excavation boundary to realistically show how the conditions would be during the actual work.

DOE-Savannah River Assistant Manager for Waste Disposition Jim Folk said everyone benefits when controls are used to reduce risk. "The mock-ups used for the liquid waste operations and SWPF tie-in project are an ideal way to test the execution of this important but hazardous scope," he said. "Ultimately, it helps to determine the tools and techniques that will be needed to perform the tie-ins while reducing exposure to the workers."

The site's release said tie-ins for the transfer lines are expected to be completed during the final SWPF tie-ins, which will be completed just prior to SWPF start-up.

The Savannah River Site was constructed during the early 1950s to produce the basic materials used in nuclear weapons, primarily tritium and plutonium-239.

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