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SRMC Team Honored for Conference Submission on Streamlining Processes

Savannah River Mission Completion’s “superior” team included, from left, Jesse Benedict, Azadeh Samadi-Dezfouli, Brent Gifford, and Andrew Jung. (Not pictured: Joshua Pifer

AIKEN, S.C. (August 4, 2022) – A team of Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC) engineers at the Savannah River Site (SRS) has been recognized nationally for its outstanding paper submission for the Waste Management (WM) 2022 Conference held earlier this year.

SRMC is the U.S. Department of Energy’s liquid waste contractor at SRS. In June, WM announced that the paper was judged to be “superior,” ranking in the top 20% of all submissions to the event.

SRMC’s Azadeh Samadi-Dezfouli, tank farms process engineering and facility support manager; Jesse Benedict, process engineer; and Andrew Jung, system planning modeling lead, earned the Superior Paper honor for their submission, “Tank Farm Upgrades and Salt Batch Preparation Enhancements to Support Feed Supply to SWPF.” Flowsheet Engineer Joshua Pifer and Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) Senior Technical Advisor Brent Gifford helped prepare the WM presentation.

SWPF can safely process salt waste at a much higher rate than ever before at SRS. SWPF’s efficiency places heavier demands on supporting facilities and the liquid waste team.

The annual WM conference provides a forum for discussing solutions to the management and disposition of radioactive waste and decommissioning of nuclear facilities. The organization established the Superior Paper Award to recognize authors for distinguished contributions to the advancement of radioactive material management.

Samadi-Dezfouli, Benedict, and Jung analyzed the processes involved in preparing salt batches for SWPF, and their paper explained the steps for pinpointing potential bottlenecks in the liquid waste system that could keep SWPF from meeting production totals in the necessary timeframes.

The group used a model simulation to identify process improvements that would lead to the higher output quantity. The paper, which was presented by Samadi-Dezfouli at the WM conference, explained how the improvements were made and the impacts those changes had across the SRS liquid waste operations.

Samadi-Dezfouli said her team came together with a common purpose.

“The team worked diligently to make improvements to support the feed supply to SWPF and identify and support the movement of greater volumes of waste,” Samadi-Dezfouli said. “We considered and analyzed the process from start to finish to identify meaningful changes. On behalf of our team, we are extremely honored that this award recognizes our efforts.”

The process of compiling and qualifying a single batch of salt waste can be both complex and time-consuming. Samadi-Dezfouli’s team evaluated the overall process and determined that there were opportunities for streamlining, capitalizing on SRMC’s value of continuous improvement.

“Thanks to the efforts of our talented team, we feel the liquid waste operations are better prepared to handle greater quantities of waste — and do so safely,” said Wyatt Clark, SRMC chief operations officer. “We are pleased that the conference organizers recognized both the significance of the group’s analysis of the entire process and the effort to create this ‘superior’ paper submission.”


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