The DOE Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) is conducting a 2,000-gallon Test Bed Initiative (TBI) to demonstrate the feasibility of options for retrieval and treatment of the low activity portion of the tank waste at the Hanford Site in Washington State.
Previously, DOE-EM conducted a proof-of-concept demonstration using 3-gallons of Hanford tank waste and a slightly modified technology. This TBI is a larger scale test of 2,000 gallons of Hanford tank waste using the technology chosen in the currently-planned demonstration facility.
The initial 3 gallon test, completed in December 2017, demonstrated that Hanford tank waste could be successfully pretreated, transported to Perma-Fix Environmental Services Northwest (PFNW) for stabilization, and disposed of as treated LLW in a solid waste form at WCS FWF. Approximately three gallons of tank waste were pretreated using filtration and ion-exchange at Hanford's 222-S Laboratory, operated by Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), to remove suspended solids and cesium. Following stabilization at PFNW, the resulting material was determined to be LLW in accordance with the Waste Incidental to Reprocessing (WIR) requirements in DOE Manual 435.1-1, and complied with federal and state regulatory requirements.
The Savannah River National Laboratory performed an evaluation to assess the viability of disposing of Hanford treated tank LLW at WCS FWF and concluded that, DOE could potentially accelerate Hanford's tank closure efforts if commercial treatment and disposal facilities were included as an alternative for managing Hanford tank waste.
Perma-Fix facilities Perma-Fix Northwest (PFNW) and Diversified Scientific Services Inc. (DSSI) are entering the radioactive contaminated reactive metals deactivation business, and although they are taking different paths to meet the RCRA standards, they share in the commitment to ensure both employee and public safety throughout the process.
On June 21 and 22, 2018, five employees from PFNW and DSSI took advantage of training provided by Creative Engineers Inc. in New Freedom, Pennsylvania to learn all about reactive metals, specifically the alkaline metals â€“ how to store them, handle them, ship them, as well as safe emergency response and clean up methods for them.
As part of the training, a sodium-potassium alloy (NaK) was reacted with water and then, under controlled conditions, was ignited, spilled, and tools were contaminated with it so that the class could learn firsthand how to handle and respond to the emergency.
Since sodium is a topic close to the hearts of the employees of both facilities, Creative Engineers took out some bricks of sodium to show they were safe to handle provided there was no water present at the time.
Attendees included Facility Managers Joe Crider and Richard Grondin, operations personnel Dakin Utley and Troy Cooley, as well as DSSI Health and Safety Manager Chasity Boatwright.
Perma-Fix Northwest sponsored the Evening for the Angels, a themed event featuring "The Great American Songbook, from Berlin to Bacharach" on July 7, 2018 in Richland, Washington to support Chaplaincy Hospice Care. The Chaplaincy Hospice Care is a recognized source for expert guidance and compassionate, spiritually-rooted care in times of crisis, grief, and healing. The night featured performer Cathy Kelly as well as guest artists Gary Danielson, Paul Francik, Melina Hall, and Steve Haberman. The event was supported by approximately 300 attendees.
On March 23, 2018, Perma-Fix was notified by Cobb Country in Georgia that we were selected as the vendor for its Household Hazardous Waste Amnesty Day. Citing our well-prepared bid, the Executive Director for Cobb County stated we were "best suited for our program and budget." Over the ensuing months, Perma-Fix planned for the event and worked closely with the County-s Parks Department to make sure the event would be a success.
On June 23, the day of the event, the weather could not have been any better for this suburb of Atlanta, with temperatures in the mid-80s and no rain. We knew the event was going to be well attended even before it started - at 8 a.m. there was already a long line of cars encircling Jim R. Miller Park and the event was not scheduled to officially start until an hour later! In all, over 1,000 vehicles brought approximately 33,000 pounds of hazardous chemicals and over 40,000 pounds of latex paint. Residents from Cobb County turned out in full force in their cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs to take part in this worthwhile event. Perma-Fix and County employees were well equipped to keep the vehicles moving through the line in a safe and orderly manner.
In addition to pesticides and other household hazardous waste collected during the one-day event, fluorescent tubes, batteries, and thermometers were also accepted for recycling.
Perma-Fix President and CEO, Mark Duff also participated in the event. He commented "I think that the residents of Cobb County are really aware of their environment and they want to protect the beauty of their county. It is a perfect fit for us to partner with these communities and offer our waste recycling and disposal services because we want to be responsible stewards of the environment. That is one of our core values.
Perma-Fix will soon open a certified radiochemistry laboratory in a new comprehensive oil and gas (O&G) waste facility in Friendly, West Virginia. Perma-Fix staff have provided health physics and waste management services to O&G exploration and production companies in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia for the past eight years. Because of the reputation Perma-Fix has built in the region's O&G industry, SECUR LLC sought out Perma-Fix to provide health physics support and design, build, and operate a one-of-a-kind on-site radiochemistry lab at their Ben's Run Oil and Gas Materials Management Facility.
The need for an on-site lab is the result of recent rule changes in West Virginia requiring every load of waste (usually a roll-off container) to be sampled and analyzed for total radium activity concentration. The method of choice for analysis is gamma spectroscopy. Perma-Fix has ample experience in setting up on-site labs to perform gamma spectroscopy, having done so at various decommissioning sites across the country. However, the Perma-Fix Friendly Laboratory will be unique in that Perma-Fix will operate the lab independently and can analyze samples from commercial clients across the country. Currently, two Canberra gamma spectroscopy systems along with an automated sample changer are in place. Certification for gamma spectroscopy of solid samples by the State of West Virginia has been applied for, with future plans to achieve additional state and federal certification. Additional systems and analyses will also be added to the lab.
Perma-Fix employee Jesus Zamora, an outstanding nuclear engineer from the University of Florida, will manage the lab Perma-Fix anticipates obtaining certification this June, and interviews for an additional analyst are underway.
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