Centreville, Va., Aug. 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Parsons Corporation (NYSE: PSN) has completed all necessary steps to begin the treatment of radioactive waste at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) in Aiken, SC. The purpose-built facility – from conceptual design to operations – is the first of its kind and will process the site's salt waste at seven to eight times the rate it is being processed today.
"This historic milestone is only possible because of the strong partnership and commitment from the Department of Energy," said Chuck Harrington, chief executive officer of Parsons. "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."
In 2002, the DOE selected Parsons to design, build, commission and operate SWPF with the goal of processing 31 million gallons of radioactive salt waste stored in underground tanks at the Savannah River Site (SRS). Removing salt waste, which fills over 90% of tank space in the SRS tank farms, is a major step toward emptying and closing the site's remaining 43 high-level waste tanks. Parsons finished building SWPF in April 2016, eight months ahead of schedule and more than $65 million under the target cost of the contract for construction activities.
"The startup of SWPF and the increased treatment capacity will save billions of dollars in overall operational costs by reducing the number of years needed to accomplish the nuclear remediation mission," said Chris Alexander, executive vice president and engineered systems market leader for Parsons. "When operational, the SWPF will significantly increase processing rates over the existing interim system and speed the effort to empty the site's waste tanks. Its key mission is to separate and concentrate highly radioactive waste — mostly cesium, strontium, actinides and waste slurry — from the less-radioactive salt solution."
After completing the initial separation process, the concentrated high-activity waste will be sent to the nearby 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 at the nearby Saltstone facility for disposal onsite.
Parsons has supported the Department of Energy at the Savannah River Site for more than 30 years and has served as the prime SWPF contractor since 2002, with responsibility for design, development and commissioning as well as operating the facility for one year.
Parsons (NYSE: PSN) is a leading disruptive technology provider in the global defense, intelligence, and critical infrastructure markets, with capabilities across cybersecurity, missile defense, space, connected infrastructure, and smart cities. Please visit parsons.com, and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook to learn how we're making an impact.
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