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Savannah River Site’s H Canyon Work Ensures Future Missions for Facility

August 28, 2014 - 12:00pm


Workers remove an old door during H Canyon facility modifications.

Workers remove an old door during H Canyon facility modifications.

AIKEN, S.C. – EM and its primary contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS) safely completed 16 facility modifications three months ahead of schedule in support of the continued operation and sustainability of the H Canyon facility.

   The project undertaken by EM and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) consisted of facility modifications and repairs, revisions to the safety analysis and reference documents, and implementation activities, including procedure changes and personnel training.

   "H Canyon continues to show its flexibility, despite its age, through its ability to run new missions,” EM Nuclear Materials Stabilization Assistant Manager Patrick McGuire said. “DOE and SRNS will continue work to safely improve the national assets we have at SRS.”

   H Canyon is the only hardened nuclear chemical separations plant still in operation in the U.S. The building resembles a canyon because the processing areas resemble a gorge in a deep valley between steeply vertical cliffs. The facility is currently dissolving and purifying a variety of nuclear materials and preparing nuclear materials for disposal.

   "The recent H Canyon upgrades ensure the facility, constructed in the 1950s, meets current safety standards for nuclear facilities and is available for future missions," said Paul Hunt, senior vice president of EM Operations for SRNS.

   Despite the heat and humidity of a South Carolina summer, workers safely sealed abandoned piping, and replaced doors and upgraded High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters in the central exhaust system.

   “With such a complex and hazardous project, and with the number of people involved, more pre-planning, mockups and oversight were conducted to ensure the work would be performed safely and without incident,” SRNS Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Fred Dohse said. “It is a testament to the safety consciousness of our workforce that so many groups came together and safely completed the project. In this project, like many others in our company, we were truly our brother’s and sister’s keeper.”