Fluor Hanford Projects

Fluor Hanford Projects Take a look at some of the projects we worked on from 1996-2009.

The 586-square-mile Hanford Site is located on the Columbia River in southeastern Washington state. A plutonium-production complex with nine nuclear reactors and associated processing facilities, Hanford played a pivotal role in the nation's defense for more than 40 years, beginning in the 1940s with the Manhattan Project. Today, under the direction of the U.S. Department of Energy, Hanford is engaged in the world's largest environmental cleanup project, with multiple technical, political, regulatory, financial and cultural challenges.

From Oct. 1, 1996 through Sept. 30, 2008, as a prime contractor for cleanup, Fluor Hanford managed several major cleanup activities. We dismantled former nuclear processing facilities, worked to clean up the Site's contaminated groundwater, and retrieved and processed transuranic waste for shipment and disposal off-site. In addition, we maintained the Site's infrastructure, provided security and fire protection, and operated the Volpentest HAMMER Training & Education Center.

During 2008, the Department of Energy awarded new contracts at the Site. Still a prime contractor, Fluor Hanford focused on providing services that supported the other mission-oriented contractors. We provided site-wide services that included security; fire protection; information technology; analytical services; facilities and land management; water, sewer, and electrical maintenance; custodial services; crane & rigging; and fleet services. Fluor Hanford also operated the HAMMER facility.

Here, you can learn about our activities, including pioneering environmental cleanup work to protect our workers, the public and the environment.

Cleaning up soil and groundwater

Fluor Hanford’s Soil and Groundwater Remediation project (SGRP) included the huge and highly visible task of tracking, characterizing and remediating nearly 100 square miles of contaminated groundwater beneath the Hanford Site. Simultaneously more than 50 square miles of soil in waste burial grounds required characterizing and remediating, a task encompassing 884 identified soil waste sites in Central Hanford. Fluor managed the SGRP endeavor for six years (2002-2008). The project’s application of new technologies to groundwater cleanup included a chemical barrier to prevent radioactive strontium from reaching the Columbia River. Fluor performed the technical work integrating with scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), CH2MHILL Hanford and other site contractors and subcontractors.

View a project fact sheet.

Closing the K Basins

Great progress was made during the 12 years that Fluor Hanford managed the K Basins. The two million-gallon, leak-prone indoor concrete pools located just a quarter of a mile from the Columbia River were considered an urgent risk by the U.S. Congress and the Department of Energy (DOE). Fluor Hanford workers removed 2,300 tons of corroding spent nuclear fuel from underwater storage in the basins -- the largest collection of spent nuclear fuel in the DOE complex, representing 80 percent of DOE’s total inventory of spent nuclear fuel. The fuel weighed more than 4.65-million pounds and some had been stored for as long as 30 years in the K Basins. From 2004-2008, K Basins workers accumulated more than 4 million hours without anyone’s missing a day due to a work-related injury while conducting some of the most high-risk work at Hanford. Work at the basins involved removing debris that included 204 large, highly contaminated fuel racks, each weighing 300 pounds. Workers vacuumed approximately 47 cubic yards of highly radioactive sludge from the water, drained the basins, and finished demolishing the superstructure of the more contaminated K East Basin.

View a project fact sheet

Stabilizing and Packaging at the Plutonium Finishing Plant

When Fluor became prime cleanup contractor at Hanford in 1996, the Site’s Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP) stored nearly 20 tons of aged and degraded plutonium-bearing scraps, residues, powders, solutions, chunks and other leftovers from decades of nuclear weapons production. The U.S. Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) – an independent federal oversight agency – had issued an urgent mandate to stabilize the waste, repackage it into approved containers, and place it on a variety of paths to disposition. The age and multitude of materials at PFP, as well as the variety and condition of containers holding these materials, were crucial factors that made stabilizing and packaging one of the most daunting jobs in the cleanup universe.

Fluor Hanford inventoried the materials and organized the work into a project. The company designed and built state-of-the-art equipment in the 14-acre complex where some key structures were more than 50 years old, and 600 workers stabilized and packaged the various types of plutonium-bearing materials. The four-year effort was completed under budget and ahead of all milestones and deadlines set by the DOE and its regulators in the Tri-Party Agreement, and by the DNSFB. The volume of plutonium-bearing materials was reduced by half and risks were reduce exponentially for the Hanford Site and the entire Northwest region by placing the stabilized plutonium materials into sturdy containers approved for long-term storage or disposal.

View a project fact sheet

Deactivation & Decommissioning Facilities on the Central Plateau

Fluor Hanford’s Deactivation & Decommissioning (D&D) Project saved time, money, and worker exposure to radiation and radioactivity by demolishing buildings contaminated with radioactivity in “open-air” conditions. Fluor pioneered this technique in 2003-2004 by demolishing the 233-S Plutonium Concentration Facility, a 50-year-old structure, in which a plutonium fire in 1963 had spread extremely high levels of long-lived alpha contamination throughout the building. Keys to safely demolishing highly contaminated facilities include using “fog cannons” to control airborne particles, heavy mechanical shears to take down walls, in-depth project planning, training with mockups, daily work planning by the crews and rigorous monitoring.

The D&D Project also cleaned out two highly contaminated World War II buildings and performed ongoing surveillance and maintenance in many other contaminated Hanford facilities, repairing and replacing fans, filters, instrumentation, and structural components as needed to keep buildings in safe conditions until they can be demolished.

View a project fact sheet

Retrieving, managing, and disposing of waste

For 12 years, Fluor Hanford’s Waste Stabilization and Disposition (WSD) Project operated ten major solid and liquid processing and analytical facilities for radioactive and/or hazardous waste. Fluor’s WSD Project also provided waste-management services to other contractors at the Hanford Site. Fluor Hanford managed and operated the Waste Receiving and Processing (WRAP) Facility, the T Plant complex, the Central Waste Complex (CWC), the 300 Area Treated Effluent Disposal Facility (TEDF), the 200 Areas Liquid Effluent Treatment Facility (LEF), and the Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility (WESF), 1996-2008. In addition, Fluor completed construction of the Canister Storage Building (CSB) in 1999, and operated it until 2008. Fluor managed and operated the 242-A Waste Evaporator from 1996-2004 and the majority of Hanford’s post-1970 mixed transuranic (TRU) waste, deemed to be high priorities by Hanford’s regulators. Beginning in 2002, Fluor managed more than 50 square miles of radioactive waste burial trenches dating from 1944 containing low-level waste (LLW), mixed low-level waste (MLLW), and TRU waste.

View a project fact sheet

Closing the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF)

The Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF) is a 400-megawatt sodium-cooled nuclear reactor that operated from 1982 until 1992 to test advanced fuel and materials to support the national Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor Program. The plant also produced a variety of medical and industrial isotopes, including tritium, and provided research and testing for advanced power systems.

When efforts to identify a long-term mission for the FFTF were unsuccessful, the DOE began activities in 1993 to transition the plant to a safe, shutdown condition. Under Fluor Hanford, the FFTF closure project removed nuclear fuel and liquid sodium coolant from the experimental reactor.

Safeguards & Security

Fluor Hanford continues to provide security services to protect nuclear materials, facilities, and personnel on the Hanford Site.

Infrastructure

For 12 years – and continuing into today - Fluor Hanford has managed and operated the aging and challenging infrastructure at Hanford. Hanford infrastructure was largely built during World War II, meaning many of the utilities, pipelines and facilities are now 65 years old. The rush of construction during 1943-45 sometimes required more speed than quality, so methods and materials used in building infrastructure components were sacrificed. Yet, the vital Hanford cleanup mission has a future reliant on dependable roads, utilities, pipelines, heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems, electrical, communications and other systems. The challenge for Fluor’s CS&I organization has been and continues to provide the utilities, infrastructure and support services necessary to sustain the cleanup, while aggressively reducing those same functions and saving any non-essential expenses that could be directed at waste remediation.

Volpentest HAMMER Training & Education Center

Named for Sam Volpentest, the Hazardous Materials Management and Emergency Response (HAMMER) Training & Education Center trains Hanford’s diverse workforce and teams with outside organizations to bring varied training programs and participants to the Tri-Cities. Go to HAMMER’s web site.


 

 

 

 

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