Parsons announced Aug. 18 it has completed the necessary steps to begin treating radioactive waste at the Energy Department’s Salt Waste Processing Facility in South Carolina.
The facility is the first of its kind and will process the site’s salt waste at seven to eight times the rate it’s currently processed, the company said.
“This historic milestone is only possible because of the strong partnership and commitment from the Department of Energy,” Parsons CEO Chuck Harrington said. “The innovations of SWPF will forever change how we remediate nuclear waste and ensure that a cleaner, more sustainable and environmentally sensitive world is possible for the future.”
Parsons was chosen to design, build, commission and operate the facility in 2002 with the goal of processing 31 million gallons of radioactive salt waste stored in underground tanks at the Savannah River Site. Parsons finished building the facility in 2016 ahead of schedule and below the budget. The company has supported the Energy Department at the site for over 30 years.
Removing salt waste that fills over 90% of tank space in the site’s tank farms is a major step toward emptying and closing the site’s remaining 43 high-level waste tanks.
After completing the initial separation process, the concentrated high-activity waste will be sent to the Defense Waste Processing Facility, where it will be immobilized in glass and stored in vaults until it can be placed in a geological repository. The decontaminated salt solution will be mixed with cement-like grout for disposal.