Over 10 years of safe and compliant cleanup celebrated at the WVDP

Olean Times Herald, June 12, 2024 —

WEST VALLEY — CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley (CHBWV) is celebrating more than 10 years of safe and compliant cleanup activities at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP).

Since August 2011, the Department of Energy’s cleanup contractor has continued to accelerate cleanup, eliminate potential environmental hazards and reduce the footprint and life-cycle costs at the site.

“The work performed since 2011 has changed the landscape of the site forever and is an important accomplishment in the progress to decommission the site,” said Jason Casper, CHBWV President and General Manager.

“This effort shows that robust engineering controls coupled with state-of-the-science monitoring can accomplish the safe removal of nuclear facilities.”

Under their contract, CHBWV has completed a number of major accomplishments, including packaging and shipping the vitrification melter (160 tons) and two large vitrification components (180 tons and 150 tons) off-site for safe disposal.

Cres relocated 278 high-level waste canisters to an onsite storage pad — the first time in U.S. history — and vitrified high-level waste (HLW), a liquid waste converted into a glass substance, was placed into interim storage, outdoor passive storage.

CHBWV completed the disposition of more than 180,000 cubic feet of low-level legacy waste produced from past cleanup activities and demolished the 01-14 Cement Solidification Facility, the Vitrification Facility — the first Vitrification

Facility in the country to be successfully constructed, operated and demolished — and seven ancillary support structures surrounding the Main Plant Process Building, including the Manipulator Repair Shop, Contact Size-Reduction Facility, Laundry Facility, Utility Room Building, Utility Room Extension building, Load-In/Load-Out Building and Main Plant Office Building.

Crews deactivated the Main Plant Process Building, including the removal of seven miles of piping and over 50 tons of equipment, and removed 110 feet of the Main Plant Process Building’s ventilation stack, weighing more than 20,000 pounds.

CHBWV deployed a liquid nitrogen decontamination system (Nitrocision®) to effectively scabble highly contaminated concrete from the Product Purification Cell walls.

Crews demolished and restored the area of 46 balance of site facilities that were no longer needed for current or future cleanup activities, including the Administrative Office Building, Liquid Pretreatment System building and Chemical Process Cell-Waste Storage Area building.

CHBWV safely shipped 2,976 cubic feet of hazardous/universal waste; 281,224 cubic feet of industrial waste; 24,173 cubic feet of mixed low-level waste; and 2,971,846 cubic feet of low-level waste.

Crews completed infrastructure improvement to support future clean-up with the installation of a new potable water system, a new electric substation, a new natural gas line, a new guardhouse and restoration of the rail line servicing the site.

As CHBWV continues the deconstruction of the Main Plant Process Building, which started in September 2022; crews have passed the 50% completion mark while maintaining safety and compliance.

Beyond their work at the West Valley site, CHBWV employees and officials supported the community with annual outreach initiatives, including $90,000 in community service donations, $12,000 in other community donations, collecting 100,000 pounds of food for nine local pantries in the Thanksgiving food drive; $12,000 during the United Way campaign and 350 toys collected for Toys For Tots.

“These accomplishments demonstrate the importance of putting safety first, solid communication, teamwork and best practices,” said Kelly Wooley, CHBWV Deputy General Manager. “The CHBWV Team was deliberate in the planning and execution of this work, which resulted in the safe and compliant completion of challenging and high-risk cleanup activities. This is a proud moment for our team and the work they continue to do at the WVDP.”

Throughout all of this work, employee safety and the protection of the environment remain the top priority, officials said. Workers continue to use extensive measures to prevent the spread of radioactive contamination and safety professionals provide continuous monitoring and sampling during cleanup activities.

This work at the site has been accomplished while working among heavy construction equipment, in areas with radiological, industrial and hazardous materials and in changing weather conditions, CHBWV officials said.

CHBWV manages and operates the WVDP under contract to DOE. The CHBWV team is comprised of Jacobs, BWX Technologies (BWXT) and the Environmental Chemical Corporation (ECC).

For more information

on the West Valley Citizen Task Force, please contact:

Nancy Raca, Facilitator
West Valley Citizen Task Force
c/o Highland Planning