Recovery Blog

Photo of the Week – Cleanup of SRS K Cooling Tower

Posted in Photo of the Week by on March 7, 2012
Rubble of K Cooling Tower

Photo contributed to the Flickr group by Savannah River Site

SRS Recovery Act Update: SRS Recovery Act workers use heavy equipment to remove the rubble of K Cooling Tower while sorting more than 800 tons of reinforced steel for recycling.

One of the most visual milestones of cleanup projects underway within the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management was the demolition of the K-Reactor Cooling Tower at the Savannah River Site (SRS).

Now, this American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project has been completed one month ahead of schedule, with debris from the implosion safely hauled away and deposited in an on-site landfill. With project completion, a great safety achievement was realized.

To complete the project, more than 800 tons of reinforced steel from the structure were sent to a local scrap metal recycler. This recycling effort also helped to stimulate the local economy beyond the SRS Recovery Act Project.

To see more photos of Recovery projects or add your own photos, visit the Flickr Group.

Getting 50 Tons of Toxic Chemicals Out of the Ground

Posted in Agency News, Recovery Act by on November 29, 2011

Cleaning up contaminated groundwater at the Lowell, Massachusetts site of a former chemical plant has been accelerated as a result of $20 million in Recovery Act funds from the Environmental Protection Agency.

When Silresim Corporation went out of business in 1977, it left behind 30,000 decaying drums and large storage tanks filled with toxic chemicals, which leaked into the groundwater.  The drums and tanks have since been removed, but state and federal officials have been working to clean up the contamination for almost 30 years.

Using advanced technology, which Recovery funds helped to buy, officials expect to remove more than 50 tons of chemicals from soil and water within nine months – a process that would normally take much longer.

Nobis Engineering, Inc., a local firm, is prime contractor for the work.

Watch EPA’s video about this project.

Photo of the Week – SRS P Reactor Sealing

Posted in Photo of the Week by on October 12, 2011
SRS P Reactor Sealing

Photo Contributed to the Flickr Group by Savannah River Site

Marc Sharpe, who was a senior reactor operator at P Reactor in the mid-1980s, carries a time capsule containing items that reveal Site and national current events into P Reactor. Dr. David Moody, U.S. Department of Energy-Savannah River Operation Office Manager, is walking behind him.

With investments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. Department of Energy and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC, (SRNS) sealed the access to the historic P and R Reactors as part of footprint reduction and legacy cleanup at the Savannah River Site.

At P Reactor today, Dr. David Moody, DOE’s Savannah River Operations Office Manager and Marc Sharpe, a reactor operator at P Reactor in the 1980s, were the last people to exit the P Reactor before its final opening was welded shut.

“The Recovery Act enabled us to accomplish a remarkable feat,” Dr. Moody said. “In just two years we successfully and safely delivered a fitting end to these relics that led our nation to a Cold War victory. For that we are proud.”

“P and R Reactors have been instrumental to SRS’s history for nearly 60 years. The Recovery Act provided the means to showcase proven and emerging technologies and to use the talents of our dedicated workforce,” said Garry Flowers, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions president and chief executive officer. “Sealing access to P and R Reactors is perhaps the most visible milestone reached as work continues to complete closure of the P and R Area Operable Units, rendering the availability of both areas for future new missions.”

Inside the P Reactor’s opening, Dr. Moody and Mr. Sharpe placed a time capsule, about the size of a 5-gallon paint bucket, containing items that depict both the history of SRS, as well as items that show current events in the region and the nation.

In addition to the Record of Decision (ROD) issued by DOE, the Environmental Protection Agency (Region IV), and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control which initiated the reactor decommissioning project, other materials included a copy of People Magazine on the Royal Wedding and other news items.

During his 30-year career at SRS, Marc Sharpe, was a reactor operator at P Reactor. He sat in the “pot,” a term reactor operators used to describe the control room. In the late 80s, Mr. Sharpe helped with its shut down. And this morning, he walked away from the reactor he helped deactivate and decommission.

Recovery Act funds were used to deactivate and perform in situ, or in place, decommissioning of these two reactors. The underground areas and vessels of both reactors were grouted in place to 0-foot elevation with an estimated 260,000 cubic yards of concrete grout. The two structures are expected to stay in their present state for 1,400 years.

Notable projects that contributed to the closure of the P & R areas include: deactivation and decommissioning (D&D) of P and R Reactors; soil and groundwater remediation, building and operation of the Batch Plant Facility to produce the special concrete used in reactor grouting; and the remediation of P and R Area Ash basins, which received coal-fired power plant ash and waste during the operation of the reactors.

P Reactor boasted a record of never having a lost-time injury from the time it reached criticality in 1954 until it was shut down in 1988. R Reactor was the first fully functioning reactor at the Site. It became operational in 1953 and was shut down in 1964 when it was no longer needed for the nation’s defense.

To see more photos of Recovery projects or add your own photos, visit the Flickr Group.

Photo of the Week – AZ Tank Farm Upgrades

Posted in Photo of the Week by on August 10, 2011
AZ Tank Farm Upgrades

Photo conitrbuted to the Flickr Group by Department of Energy Office of River Protection

Tank Farms contractor Washington River Protection Solutions completed an upgrade to critical radioactive waste transfer lines at Hanford’s AZ Farm. Workers installed roughly 80 feet of double-walled piping used to transfer high-level radioactive waste between tanks. Funded through the Recovery Act, the upgrades prepare the tanks for delivering waste to the Waste Treatment Plant once it’s operational.


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