PDT Staff Writer
In his first public appearance since becoming Program Manager for Fluor-B&W Portsmouth LLC, Dennis Carr addressed the Scioto County Commissioners on the progress of the Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D) work at the Piketon Plant.
Carr has served in leadership capacities for Fluor-B&W since award of the company’s contract by DOE in August 2010, most recently as deputy program manager.
“We have made notification to you as to what we are calling a workforce restructuring at the site. The workforce restructuring is not necessarily associated with a reduction in force, it what we’re calling a skill mix change,” Carr said. “We are changing the character of the work that we are doing.”
In June Flour-B&W Portsmouth the uranium enrichment cascade in the former gaseous diffusion plant was shut down to end operations in the X-326 Process Building.
“We’ve now terminated the clean out of the cascades and we are into taking them apart and removing the equipment. That is going to be a large undertaking for many years to come,” Carr said. “As a result of that and of the need to increase our focus on the barter, which is us taking natural uranium and repackaging it from thin walled cylinders to thick walled cylinders. We are moving a contingent of our workforce from what they have been doing to focus on those areas.”
Carr said more people and more shifts of people will be added to those areas.
“Deactivation work is a critical path of the site. You are going to be hearing about this work for quite a few years,” Carr said. “This work will have crews pacifying the UF6 in the buildings and then cutting free the equipment, capping the ends and moving it out of the building.”
He added those efforts have begun in the 326 facility.
“There is a significant sized crew that will be staffed up to 200 people. We’ve posted those jobs, we’ve had internal and external bids on those jobs. We will consider our own people first and the jobs leftover we will be going outside to fill them,” Carr said. “Over the course of this year I anticipate there will be reductions in certain classifications and others will come up. The FBP workforce overall we anticipate will have a slight increase of about 50 people. Between now and the end of next fiscal year.”
He said crews are advancing the D&D process to ‘balance the plant to facility.’
“There are some 415 small buildings that surround the three main process buildings that did various activities for the site. We are increasing the balance of plant demolition activities,” Carr said.
He said crews are making some infrastructure improvements at the plant.
“Being mindful of possible tighter funding profiles in the future. We are trying to right size the infrastructure of the plant. There is a 40 million gallon a day water treatment capability, there is a 30 million gallon a day wastewater treatment capability. We had two 2200 megawatt substations,” Carr said. “We are now right sizing that infrastructure to make it support our project and support the needs of ACP (American Centrifuge Plant) and the DUF6 Facility. There are some electrical infrastructure projects going on right now. We’re also focused on water, sewage.”
Carr said right-sizing the infrastructure will reduce the cost of operating the facility.
He said the Portsmouth Site Specific Advisory Board recently passed a resolution in regards to future use of the site.
The resolution was similar to a resolution passed by the Scioto County Commissioners. It supports an on-site disposal system for the waste generated from the Decontamination and Decommissioning of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion plant in Piketon.
The on-site option is one of two alternatives being considered by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Ohio EPA. The other is to dispose of waste off the A-Plant site.
Fluor-B&W Portsmouth is estimating the all off-site disposal would cost about $1.62 billion and the on-site disposal would cost about $668 million.
“The equipment we’re currently removing from the 326 facility, ourselves and the Department of Energy have elected to ship that equipment,” Carr said. “We are packaging the equipment as we remove it and will begin shipping to the Nevada National Security site within the next 30 days.”
He said the final decision on whether or not to have on or off site disposal will come at some point next year.
“Once that decision is made and there is onsite disposal, there will be a design process that follows. Any construction on a disposal facility would, at best take place at the beginning of ‘14,” Carr said. “If the decision is to ship, we’ve been doing some improvements to the sites rail infrastructure. Irregardless if there is on-site disposal there will still be some material shipped.”
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or email@example.com.