Building on past progress for a brighter future
Jan. 25 marked our official start of work as the new contractor for nuclear waste cleanup on the Hanford site’s Central Plateau and along the Columbia River.
On behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hanford cleanup mission, the Central Plateau Cleanup Company (CPCCo) will continue the risk-reduction activities managed by previous contractor, CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company.
The three partner companies that form CPCCo – Amentum, Fluor and Atkins Nuclear Secured – bring more than a century of nuclear cleanup experience to the job. Collectively, the companies have decommissioned nearly 1,200 facilities and disposed of more waste for the U.S. environmental cleanup program than any other.
So where do we start at Hanford?
First, I want to acknowledge the tremendous progress accomplished since the Hanford cleanup effort began in 1989.
More than 1,300 waste sites remediated, nearly 1,000 facilities demolished, millions of tons of contaminated soil and debris moved away from the Columbia River to Hanford’s engineered landfill, and more than 25 billion gallons of contaminated groundwater treated.
Over the next decade, CPCCo will build on this success with cost-effective and efficient solutions to allow us to safely complete some of Hanford’s highest-priority projects to further reduce site risk and liability and shrink overall lifecycle costs and schedule.
Some of that work is already underway.
In fact, one of CPCCo’s top priorities this year is the completion of final demolition activities at the Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP).
Last year, Hanford celebrated completion of demolition on the PFP main processing facility.
Today, final risk-reduction activities within the former PFP footprint include packaging and safe disposal of the rubble from the Plutonium Reclamation Facility, sampling of soil beneath the building pads and stabilization of the site with a soil cover.
The work is expected to begin this spring with completion expected by late summer. Finishing work on this iconic facility will put a cap on a historic accomplishment in the overall cleanup mission.
Other key priorities for CPCCo over the next several years include the transfer of nearly 2,000 highly radioactive capsules in the Waste Encapsulation Storage Facility to safer dry storage; maximizing groundwater cleanup along the Columbia River; final remediation activities in the 100 K Area and placement of the K West and K East reactors in interim safe storage; and the removal of highly radioactive soil beneath the 324 Building.
In addition, CPCCo also is preparing the Integrated Disposal Facility (IDF) – an engineered landfill – to receive vitrified low-activity waste from the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant in support of the site’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) program, a top priority for DOE.
The IDF will provide permanent, environmentally-safe disposition for the immobilized low-activity waste containers and mixed low-level waste streams from Hanford operations.
The IDF is an excellent example of the collaborative One Hanford approach: all of the site’s prime contractors work together toward a common goal of getting the waste out of the tanks and treating it for safe disposal.
Just as important to CPCCo as tackling the technical aspects of Hanford’s cleanup mission is our role in making a positive impact on this place we all call home.
We can’t wait to engage in the Tri-City community through volunteer activities, support of schools’ science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs to provide opportunities for our next generation of Hanford workers, and service on local boards, just to name a few of our community involvement goals.
This is an exciting time for CPCCo, and our team has been specially assembled to safely and successfully accelerate Hanford’s cleanup mission.
With a supremely talented and experienced workforce of more than 1,800, we look forward to partnering with DOE, regulators and stakeholders to make Hanford a model for success across the DOE complex.
Scott Sax is president and project manager for Central Plateau Cleanup Company.