An asbestos removal project has been completed in a dry air plant in the X-333 Process Building of the former gaseous diffusion plant at the Department of Energy’s Portsmouth Site in Piketon.
“The removal of asbestos is part of the decontamination and decommissioning process (D&D),” DOE Site Director Dr. Vince Adams said. “Protecting the health and safety of the personnel at the plant and in the community as well as the environment is the first priority in the clean-up process. Safe asbestos removal like this in the X-333 will be a significant part of the activities to come.”
A team member works inside the containment area for the asbestos removal project in a dry air plant of the X-333 Process Building at the Department of Energy Portsmouth Site in Piketon. Removal of the material requires extensive covering, sealing and filtered vacuuming to assure safe abatement.
Clean-up work was assumed by the DOE’s primary D&D contractor at the Site, Fluor-B&W Portsmouth LLC, in March 2011. In partnership with Wastren Advantage, Inc. (WAI) of Piketon and sub-contractor Solid Rock of West Portsmouth, Fluor-B&W D&D operations were able to remove asbestos associated with antiquated and contaminated facilities that were part of the Cold War-era uranium enrichment process.
Industry consensus is that asbestos in good condition, undisturbed, is safe. Since the older buildings are expected to be demolished, including the X-333, the asbestos must be removed within safe parameters established by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Health. The X-333 dry air plant asbestos project began in November and required support in several specialized areas, said Fluor-B&W Demolition Manager Ken Shinkle.
“This project was a success due to the dedication of the team members, including our sub-contracted specialists with WAI of Piketon and Solid Rock of West Portsmouth,” Shinkle said. “In all about 20 people were involved in the project at various stages, removing asbestos from four 20-foot tanks and more than 200 feet of piping.”
Superintendent Jay Smoyer said the asbestos is removed while contained inside special “glove bags” and a filtered vacuum system assures no material is released. The material is then removed and packaged into containers under Department of Transportation standards and shipped out of the area to an appropriate facility for disposal of contaminated asbestos.
“Many similar removal projects will soon be under way here as we move forward with D&D,” Dr. Adams said. “The DOE, through the dedicated effort of our project teams and their sub-contractors, will continue to demonstrate a careful approach to safe remediation here at the Site.”