DOE awards contract for design of former waste treatment plant

May 12, 2015

Merrick & Company to Design Transuranium Material Handling and Processing Equipment for US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Sludge Treatment Facility in Consortium Project led by CH2M Hill.

The sludge treatment facility will be adjacent to ORNL’s existing transuranic waste treatment center (Image: US Department of Energy)

Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) Awarded $ 1.5 Million Architect-Engineer Contract to CH2M Hill for Sludge Treatment Plant Construction Project at Waste Treatment Center transuranic agents (TWPC) from ORNL on April 2. Merrick has now announced that it will bring its specialist expertise as a partner to CH2M Hill.

The contract awarded to CH2M Hill, with partners Merrick and Navarro Inc, is for the final design of a mock test facility to prove at scale the technology that will be used to treat and treat the sludge. The design of the facility is to be completed by the end of this year.

A second contract will cover the construction and operation of the facility and a third contract will cover the construction of the final sludge treatment facility. Both are options under the contract signed with CH2M Hill, and will be cleared in due course by the Department of Energy. The final facility is expected to come into service in the mid-2020s.

ORNL was created in 1943 and its transuranic waste inventory (TRU) comes from past operations on the site. TRU contains man-made elements heavier than uranium and typically includes objects and materials such as clothing, tools, soil, and other debris associated with handling fissile material. The TWPC, built in 2003, currently processes solid and liquid TRU wastes from operations in the 1950s and 1960s.

The waste being treated at the TWPC is waste handled by contact, less radioactive and can be sorted and reconditioned manually by the workers; and remotely handled waste, which has higher radioactivity and is processed in hot cells by manipulators controlled by the employees.

Mike Koentop from OREM said Global nuclear news that 97% of waste handled by contact and more than 80% of waste handled remotely is now treated. Processing of these waste streams is expected to be completed around 2018.

This leaves around 2,000 cubic meters of TRU sludge, currently stored in tanks adjacent to the TWPC, to be treated.

Research and writing
by World Nuclear News

Leon E. Hill

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