AIKEN, S.C. (February 27, 2023) — Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC), the liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS), has successfully completed its first year of service to the Department of Energy (DOE).
SRMC was awarded the contract on October 27, 2021, and assumed operations on February 27, 2022. SRMC is responsible for treating and dispositioning millions of gallons of high-activity liquid waste stored at SRS. The waste is the result of special nuclear material production during the Cold War, as well as processing of nuclear materials for research, medical programs, and outer space missions.
For the first time in SRS history, a single contractor has responsibility for all the liquid waste processing facilities at SRS, which is a significant benefit to completing the liquid waste mission, according to SRMC President and Program Manager Dave Olson. Before SRMC, the last major liquid waste facility, the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF), was operated by another contractor. Consolidating the mission occurred in March 2022.
"As we enter our second year of operation, we will continue as the Power As One: one mission, one vision, one contract, one company, one set of core values, and one safety culture," Olson said. "Our employees have been exemplary in their execution of our mission, eliminating the risk of this waste to our workers, the community, and the environment."
Some of the key accomplishments marked in SRMC’s first year include:
Transitioning SWPF, including employees, equipment, and facilities, into the liquid waste contract;
Improving the vitrification process at the Defense Waste Processing Facility by implementing an improved chemical flowsheet;
Constructing large Saltstone Disposal Units (SDUs), which permanently hold decontaminated salt solution converted into hardened grout. SDU 8 recently successfully completed its leak tightness test and is undergoing final testing;
Processing 2.5 million gallons of salt waste through SWPF while also producing a new 31-day processing record of 408,564 gallons;
Making significant progress to outfit 18 tanks for waste retrieval and closure;
Streamlining laboratory operations by consolidating its three labs under the liquid waste program into one organization;
Operationally closing the first ancillary tank farm structures in SRS history;
Implementing a first-of-a-kind modeling tool for system planning; and
Reaching regulatory agreement to focus on risk reduction by processing higher-curie salt in the near-term.
Underlying all the operational accomplishments is the commitment to the company’s core value of safety, Olson said. This sentiment is evident by the recent achievement of the workforce surpassing five million hours without an occupation-related injury that prevented a worker from reporting for duty the next day.
“It would be impossible for us to achieve so many goals and accomplish so much in our first year without the safety mindset of our workers," Olson said.
SRMC has also invested in its workforce during its first year on the job. The company established an employee diversity, equity, and inclusion council; implemented leadership development workshops; and continued to grow a technical student pipeline program.
Through its first year of operation, SRMC has exceeded expectations by awarding $190 million in subcontracts to small businesses, including women-owned businesses and those owned by disadvantaged individuals. SRMC also hosted two outreach workshops for small business owners in an effort to encourage small business subcontracting.
The company’s employees have exhibited extreme generosity during SRMC’s first year of operations. Contributions to the United Way totaled more than $286,000 for 2022, exceeding the goal of $275,000. Employees also volunteered their time and talents to events such as the annual United Way Project VISION, providing yard work, painting, minor construction and cleanup.
SRMC also presented scholarships and grants to area teachers, children of SRMC employees, and regional Historically Black Colleges and Universities to enhance their hands-on teaching of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classes. The company also made donations to technical colleges and provided opportunities for students to take part in internships and apprenticeship programs that could lead to future positions at SRS.
SRMC comprises parent company BWX Technologies, Inc. with partners Amentum and Fluor. Its team brings the capabilities necessary to accelerate cleanup at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site through safe nuclear operations, optimized and integrated mission execution, and strong corporate governance.
Savannah River Mission Completion has undertaken several major projects in its first year of operation, making the past 12 months very successful for the liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site.