Project Synopsis

Provide a chemical engineering assessment and evaluation support for a proposed transfer method to move an aged radioactive liquid mixture at an aging experimental nuclear reactor facility.

Project Summary


Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted to support the client, a detailed engineering firm, in preparing an engineering evaluation for the ultimate client, an engineering and contracted federal facility operations company. The evaluation was for a proposed CERCLA environmental remediation action effort to decommission an experimental liquid fuel nuclear reactor that has been in shutdown mode since 1969.  The focus of the evaluation was to assess whether the highly radioactive fuel can safely be transferred from tanks in a below-grade vault to canisters located in an adjacent hot cell. This was a critical step before a decontamination and decommissioning operational readiness review could proceed. PROCESS provided the chemical engineering perspective for this evaluation and served on a team otherwise consisting of a metallurgist, a mechanical engineer, a team lead, and a project manager from the client.

PROCESS performed the following tasks in support of this limited time (6 week) evaluation:

  • Reviewed over 80 reports and documents provided by the ultimate client, along with other sources of pertinent information
  • Participated in interviews with key ultimate client personnel involved in an earlier failed attempt to transfer the fuel
  • Toured the reactor operating floor and inspected the probes intended for the proposed transfer
  • Reviewed the available Shift Supervisor Logs, and reviewed remote videos taken of the remote shielded fuel storage tanks
  • Prepared Section 4, Chemical Evaluation, of the final evaluation report, which summarized the chemistry considerations, evaluated the probable corrosion effects, raised concerns with the proposed fuel transfer method, and itemized recommendations from a chemical process engineering perspective.

Industry Type

  • Nuclear Fuels Waste Management

Utilized Skills

  • Engineering evaluation
  • Environmental cleanup support
  • Environmental remediation assistance
  • Operational readiness support
  • Decontamination and decommissioning support
  • Nuclear materials process consulting

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