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Remediation of One Million Tons of Low-Level Radioactive Waste at the Department of Energy Fernald Closure Project

[+] Author Affiliations
Cornelius Murphy

The Shaw Group, Inc., Baton Rouge, LA

Paper No. ICEM2003-5001, pp. 675-683; 9 pages
  • ASME 2003 9th International Conference on Radioactive Waste Management and Environmental Remediation
  • 9th ASME International Conference on Radioactive Waste Management and Environmental Remediation: Volumes 1, 2, and 3
  • Oxford, England, September 21–25, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3732-7 | eISBN: 0-7918-3731-9
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


The Fernald Waste Pits Remedial Action Project (WPRAP) is located within the Department of Energy (DOE) Fernald Closure Project (FCP) Site located 32 km (20 miles) northeast of Cincinnati, Ohio. The FCP covers 424 ha (1,050 acres) of land in a rural, agricultural community. Fluor Fernald, Inc., is the Prime Contractor to the DOE for management of the FCP remediation. The WPRAP is removing approximately one million tons of low-level radioactive waste from eight storage pits which cover 15 ha (38 acres). This waste was generated during the FCP uranium metal production years of 1952 to 1989. Radioactive leachate from these wastes contributed to the contamination of an 80 ha (200 acres) portion of the Great Miami Aquifer. This aquifer is a drinking water source for the greater Cincinnati area. This unique project is one of the largest in the history of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)/ Superfund program. The objective of the project is the removal of all of the uranium and thorium contaminated wastes, soils and sludges from the waste pits area of the FCP. The facility in which these wastes are processed was financed and constructed by the Shaw Group (Shaw) and is operated jointly by Shaw and Fluor Fernald. Wet soils and sludges from the waste pits are excavated and thermally dried, then blended and analyzed. Once the waste has been determined to meet criteria for transportation and disposal, it is loaded into specialized railcars and transported by exclusive-use train to the Envirocare Waste Disposal Facility 3,200 km (2,000 miles) away in Clive, Utah. This project is presently about 72% complete. More than 600,000 tons of waste material have been safely transported off site by 95 exclusive-use trains. Waste shipments are projected to be completed by late next year (2004). The progress of the WPRAP to date demonstrates that a major DOE facility remediation project can be safely and successfully executed in partnership with private industry and local stakeholders utilizing proven commercial best practices and existing site labor resources. This paper details project performance to date, challenges encountered, and the cooperation of the DOE, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Fluor Fernald, Inc.; Shaw, local labor unions, and the local community in planning and successfully executing the WPRAP. The cost of the WPRAP to the U.S. Government is projected to be about four hundred million dollars ($400,000,000.00).

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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