Project Synopsis

Lead, execute, and support the process design of pilot and commercial scale production facilities to produce nuclear fuel for uranium enrichment.

Project Summary


The client provides multi-discipline engineering, operations, maintenance, and facility services for the ultimate client, a commercial uranium enrichment company.  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was hired as a subcontractor by the client to lead and execute the process design of a commercial scale uranium enrichment plant for the production of power plant fuel grade uranium.  Working with the ultimate client, several other subcontractors, and the ultimate client’s prime contractors, PROCESS’ engineers performed the following tasks:

  • Led the process design discipline for the Oak Ridge, Tennessee operations.  In this role, PROCESS’ lead engineer supervised a team of process design engineers and worked with all other design discipline leads to execute equipment design, installation, and start-up.  Additionally, PROCESS’ Project Manager served as a key player in determining future direction for the project.  Tasks included process design supervision and leadership, project planning with respect to research and development activities, determining technological risks for various key technologies, and recommending paths on identified technological gaps.
  • Executed a process design of a commercial uranium enrichment plant.  Project elements included mass and energy balance development, block flow diagrams development, process flow diagrams (PFDs) development, design analyses and calculations preparation, process description/narratives preparation, system design documents preparation, process hazard analysis (PHA) support, integrated safety analysis support, control narratives preparation, and equipment specifications and datasheets development.
  • Supported start-up and commissioning of various pilot plant processes.  Project elements included:  test plans development; test procedures preparation and execution, documentation, and data reduction of test data; piping and instrumentation diagram (P&IDs) development and red-line modification preparation; specialized test stands design; manufacture and implementation of design improvements; equipment calibration and maintenance monitoring; and conduct of operations and compliance assurance implementation.
  • Directed and provided daily oversight for pilot plant test operations.  Project elements included development and execution of test plans, data reduction and analysis, development of future testing strategies, monitored routine equipment calibration and maintenance activities, championed and implemented design change evolutions, monitored/directed unexpected repair operations, and monitored/maintained testing budgets.
  • Supported the preparation of an Integrated Safety Analysis on a facility to be licensed under 10 CFR Part 70.61.  Project elements included preparation of integrated safety documentation including technical reports and quantitative risk assessments, development of engineering technical procedures in accordance with NQA-1 guidelines, contributions to head-end planning efforts for design implementation, and preparation of initial conceptual design packages for client review.
  • Developed a comprehensive process simulation model that was used to optimize process equipment costs and layout.  Commercial simulation software was utilized to provide a platform that transformed fundamental process behavior into final mass balance information.  Custom unit operations for use in the model were developed for this purpose.  The custom unit operations consisted of using the software’s Visual Basic for Applications unit operations to simulate the governing science and engineering models.  Additionally, inter-program communication between the simulation and Excel was leveraged to aid in high throughput screening of design concepts and principles.  With this, sensitivity studies were conducted that drove both individual unit operations designs as well as overall plant layouts.
  • Organized and provided the meeting facilitator, process engineering subject matter expert, and operations roles during Hazard and Operability Analysis (HAZOPs) meetings analyzing commercial uranium enrichment equipment and processes.  Provided summary reports of HAZOPs meetings in support of the development of an Integrated Safety Analysis on a facility to be licensed under 10 CFR Part 70.61.
  • Conducted airborne plume modeling analyses to characterize the potential extent of offsite contamination during likely and highly unlikely accident scenarios.  In this process, a large amount of plume modeling output was distilled into a set of easy to use tables that could be used by end users to determine the effects of potential release scenarios.  This work became instrumental in easily identifying accidents of interest for quantitative risk assessments and aided in developing prevention and mitigation plans for onsite personnel and emergency preparedness planning.

Industry Type

  • Commercial Nuclear Power Fuels Production

Utilized Skills

  • Process design
  • Process test plan development and oversight
  • Process safety support
  • Release scenario plume modeling
  • Project management support

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