TWPC permits in good shape w/regulators

IMG_4374The Department of Energy’s Transuranic Waste Processing Center is located off Highway 95 on the southwest part of the government’s Oak Ridge reservation.

As there prepares to be a change of contractors at the Department of Energy’s Transuranic Waste Processing Center, I checked with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to see if there were any outstanding issues regarding the operating permits at the radioactive waste facility.

Based on those reports, it doesn’t look like the outgoing contractor, Wastren Advantage Inc., which has managed the TWPC for the past five years, is leaving behind any environmental problems. The management transition to North Wind Solutions, which has supported work at the site under WAI, is scheduled to begin Monday and take about 45 days to complete.

Kelly Brockman, communications director at TDEC, said in the past few years there have been no RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) violations at the facility, with the exception of three “minor/administrative infractions” back in 2011 and those were later rectified.

“Subsequent annual RCRA inspections, including this year’s performed in April 2015, have found no violations,” Brockman said of the Solid Waste Division records.

There was a similar report from TDEC’s Division of Air Pollution Control. According to Brockman, the state has not issued any notice of violations to WAI.

“A comprehensive inspection was conducted on the facility on Nov. 13, 2014, Oct. 23, 2013 and Oct. 23, 2012,” she said via email. “The facility was found to be in compliance with their permits. The facility is on our list to be inspected again this year. ”

That appears to be good news.

There was a period back in 2013 when it seemed like negative issues were piling up at the facility regarding the safety of operations. The Department of Energy ultimately directed WAI to perform a “causal analysis” to figure out why bad things were happening. DOE said it had become increasingly concerned about the rigor of operations and safety processes. DOE later noted that WAI had responded to the concerns and had completed the corrective actions at the facility off Highway 95.

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.