September 9, 2005
Sludge Removal Operations at the Hanford Site's K Basins
The sludge removal phase of the Spent Nuclear Fuels (SNF) Project and Cost has experienced schedule delays and cost increases. For example, the original Tri-Party Agreement (TPA) milestone called for sludge removal to begin by December 2002; however, Fluor was unable to begin operations until July 2004 – 18 months later than planned. In April 2003, Fluor initiated the final step towards beginning sludge removal operations. This step, called the Operational Readiness Review (ORR), required an assessment to verify that an adequate state of readiness had been achieved to begin startup of sludge removal operations. Due to numerous deficiencies, the ORR was halted shortly after it started. Deficiencies included instances where installed equipment did not meet construction specifications, testing documentation was either inadequate or nonexistent, and changes were made to equipment designs without an adequate review for potential safety impacts.