[ RadSafe ] Plutonium facility at SRS deactivated

George J. Vargo vargo at physicist.net
Tue Jul 25 11:20:12 CDT 2006

Plutonium facility at SRS deactivated

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

AIKEN, S.C. - A Savannah River Site facility that helped produce one-third
of the nation's weapons-grade plutonium during the Cold War has been
deactivated, officials said Monday.

The facility, known as FB Line, supported defense efforts for more than
three decades, beginning in the late 1950s, according to site contractor
Washington Savannah River Co.

The facility turned plutonium-239 into a hockey-puck size metal form called
a button.

It was placed on standby at the end of the Cold War, and restarted in 1995
to stabilize remaining materials.

The FB Line was located in the F Area, where deactivation work has been
completed over the past three years. Most of the workers there have been
reassigned, concentrating now on cleanup of the site.

F Canyon is one of two chemical separation plants at SRS, and FB Line is
located on its roof. FB Line is two stories high, covering about 68,000
square feet.

The original FB Line, built in the early 1950s, was located in the canyon.
Later that decade, the facility now known as FB Line was built.

Plutonium processing ended in F Canyon in 2002, and deactivation began.
Workers packaged and shipped more than 1,600 plutonium items to other SRS
facilities, completing de-inventory in February 2005. Some areas had not
been operational or entered in years, presenting some challenges.

"Nothing was routine," F Area deputy facility manager Steve Williams said in
a news release. "Every job had to be approached with discipline and
inquisitiveness. It took every member of the team conducting every piece of
work with extreme rigor to get the job done safely."

Waste, including protective clothing, tools and machinery generated from the
deactivation _ enough to fill a two-car garage _ was sent to the site's
waste management facility.

By the end of this month, access to FB Line will be reduced to quarterly
entries to ensure safety until decommissioning.

More information about the RadSafe mailing list