UCOR ramps up work on Y-12 mercury-treatment design; Oak Ridge and Savannah River sharing resources on mercury issues

mercurysignUCOR (URS-CH2M Oak Ridge) is the Department of Energy’s cleanup manager in Oak Ridge, and that role has brought the contractor head to head with some challenging tasks — such as fixing the leak in the reactor pool at the ORNL’s Oak Ridge Research Reactor and tearing down lots of big buildings.

UCOR also has been given the lead in designing a new mercury treatment facility at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, and that work is starting to really move forward, with the preliminary design to be completed in the spring of 2016, according to UCOR’s recent response to questions.

Anne Smith, a spokeswoman for UCOR, emphasized that mercury cleanup is one of DOE’s top priorities in Oak Ridge. She said the new treatment facility will reduce the discharges of mercury into the headwaters of East Fork Poplar Creek.

The overall cost of the new mercury treatment facility at Y-12 is expected to be in the range of $150 million.

“UCOR has primary responsibility for design of the Outfall 200 Mercury Treatment Facility and is drawing on the resources of its two parent companies -– CH2M and AECOM –- in the design effort,” Smith said via email. “Site civil surveys were performed by a subcontractor.”

The preliminary design stage is focused on the “headworks” that will capture water from Outfall 200 (where Y-12’s storm sewer system empties into the creek) and move it to the treatment facility, as well as the design of the treatment process itself, she said.

After the preliminary design work is done, the final design will begin, and that work is supposed to be completed in early 2017, Smith said. That will be followed by a series of DOE reviews, she said.

“As part of this effort, a Mercury Issues Coordination Team has been formed by UCOR and Savannah River Remediation, DOE’s liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina,” Smith said. “Both SRR and UCOR share ownership by AECOM.  SRS is addressing mercury-related issues in its liquid waste system, primarily associated with the Defense Waste Processing Facility.”

Harold Conner, UCOR’s manager of nuclear services and engineering, and three other UCOR employees are working on the Mercury Issues Coordination Team, which is supposed to coordinate their work on mercury issues at the two DOE sites.

The team is engaged in joint reviews of technical information, information sharing (including lessons learned), identifying integrated approaches and coordinating communications and interactions with DOE-EM,” Smith said.

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This entry was posted in mercury, Oak Ridge EM, UCOR, Y-12 on by .

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.