This year, the employees of CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CH2M) will make major history not only on the Hanford Site, but across the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) complex, as we begin demolition of the Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP). Our talented employees, who’ve spent years preparing for this endeavor, will allow us to safely and compliantly remove this hazard from the Hanford Site.
While we look forward to beginning demolition this year, our fundamental concern, as it has been since the start of our contract in 2008, is to advance our mission safely and compliantly. Last year, we achieved our best safety performance since our contract began.
Last year, we achieved our best safety performance since our contract began.
Right now, employees at PFP are completing the last steps to prepare the building for demolition, and it is some of the most hazardous work performed across the DOE complex. Crews just finished cutting up and removing the most contaminated glove box from the building. They removed all of the glove boxes from inside the McCluskey Room, and are preparing chemical tanks for removal. They are in the process of removing, or preparing to remove during demolition, the last of the plutonium processing infrastructure.
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With the hazards inside the building removed or mitigated, demolition of the facility is expected to begin in the coming months. We will take the building apart in phases, with careful controls throughout the process to ensure employee safety.
Some of the additional Hanford cleanup accomplishments planned this year include installing and testing equipment to move highly radioactive sludge away from the Columbia River, and we will begin modifications necessary to repurpose a no-longer-used canyon facility on the Central Plateau to receive and store that sludge once shipments begin in 2018.
In 2015, CH2M treated more than 2.1 billion gallons of groundwater, a record for the Hanford Site, and removed more than 75 tons of contaminants by optimizing our treatment technologies. We will further reduce groundwater contamination this year with our goal to remove more than 90 tons of contaminants to reduce risk to the Columbia River.
In 2015, CH2M treated more than 2.1 billion gallons of groundwater, a record for the Hanford Site, and removed more than 75 tons of contaminants by optimizing our treatment technologies.
CH2M safely and compliantly manages the storage of 1,936 cesium and strontium capsules, which together contain about one-third of the radioactivity present on the Hanford Site. We safely store those capsules at the Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility (WESF) under 13 feet of water. This year, we will finish upgrades to the facility’s ventilation system, which will allow us to continue to safely store and manage the capsules stored within the pool cells at WESF. We also will begin the process of seeking subcontractors to help us design and build casks for long-term storage of those capsules.
Our subcontractors play an integral part of our success at Hanford. Since the CHPRC contract award, Oct. 1, 2008, CHPRC has subcontracted $2.3 billion in goods and services with more than 52 percent going to small businesses and 70 percent of all transactions awarded in Benton and Franklin counties. In addition to supporting our community through small-business subcontracting, we contribute to a variety of community organizations and causes through financial support and volunteerism. In 2015, nearly 450 CH2M employees volunteered more than 1,500 hours.
I consider myself fortunate to be a part of the CH2M team that is making significant progress on the Hanford Site toward improving our environment and our community for future generations. I am proud of our accomplishments in 2015, and look forward to seeing our progress this year.