For Immediate Release
Contact: Dennis Hill
Oak Ridge, Tenn., December 1, 2011 — URS | CH2M Oak Ridge (UCOR) and a team of its subcontractors recently cleaned up a contaminated area of First Street at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), putting the area back into safe, productive use. The $85,000 project was accomplished using cost savings from other UCOR projects.
Radioactive contamination had been discovered along the west side of Building 2101 in May. It was the result of a legacy broken waste line. The line was repaired and the associated contaminated soil was placed in containers for disposal, but the area remained unavailable for use.
In order to put the area back into service, a 120-foot section of chain link fence and 13 fence posts were removed and disposed. Most of the fence was not contaminated and was placed in the sanitary landfill at Y-12. The portion of the fence that had low-level radioactive contamination was placed in a container, and is awaiting disposal at the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility (EMWMF) on Bear Creek Road.
The project also involved removing an additional 30 cubic feet of contaminated soil directly beneath the fence, and replacing it with aggregate. The soil was added to the previously generated waste. In addition, the sidewalk and parking area were thoroughly cleaned and surveyed before being resurfaced with asphalt. The concrete foundation for the utility steam header was also cleaned, surveyed and painted with an epoxy solution. After the parking area was striped and new parking bumpers installed, the area was reopened for use.
UCOR President and Project Manager Leo Sain recognized the UCOR ORNL Surveillance and Maintenance group and subcontractors RSI, M&W Drilling, and SEC Radcon Alliance for the work. “This is just one example of UCOR taking the initiative to clean up an area that contractually we were only supposed to monitor,” Sain said. “We are continuing to find other areas where it makes more sense to clean them up now, rather than watch them indefinitely.”
As part of that effort, UCOR has taken steps to identify and plan for disposal of hundreds of containers and waste piles at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), Y-12 National Security Complex and ORNL.
Walkdowns have been conducted by DOE and contractors at the three sites to inventory the waste and to develop independent cost estimates for its disposition. “Since we have to keep track of this material anyway, it makes more sense to properly dispose of it,” said UCOR Surveillance and Maintenance Manager Bobby Smith. “Either way, there are costs involved, but we think it is better to pay the cost of disposal up front, rather than pay for surveillance and maintenance on a continuing basis.”
The waste is generally grouped in small, widely scattered units that can be difficult to keep track of. The often disparate locations can make the waste units hard to manage.
“Ultimately, the best way to manage these small, discreet waste units is to properly characterize and dispose of them. Once that is done, resources that were being used to watch and maintain them can be applied to other work,” Smith said.