Crews have finished building a first-of-a-kind DOE facility that sets the stage to change the way EM’s Paducah Site scans, packages and disposes equipment and waste for the foreseeable future.
The new facility, called the Large Item Neutron Assay System (LINAS), moves Paducah forward in its mission to prepare the C-333 Process Building and other buildings for future demolition at the former gaseous diffusion plant.
C-333 has more than 1,300 pieces of equipment to be downsized and disposed as part of facility deactivation. Deactivation is the process of placing a contaminated excess facility in a stable condition to minimize existing risks and protect workers, the public and the environment while preparing it for future decommissioning and demolition.
LINAS allows workers to collect precise measurements of the material held up in process gas equipment, which helps ensure the equipment is properly prepared for safe disposal.
The unique system performs nondestructive assay (NDA) measurements of the largest process gas components within the plant. NDA helps workers quantify the amount of uranium contained in the large process gas components.
Traditionally, sampling and analysis of the materials contained in a component could only be done by cutting the component open. With LINAS, workers no longer have to cut the component to quantify its contents, thus enhancing safety for the NDA team.
“NDA is a critical part of the deactivation process at the site,” EM Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office Manager Joel Bradburne said. “The LINAS facility promises improved efficiency, resulting in increased productivity and long term-cost savings.”
In addition, EM deactivation and remediation contractor Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership (FRNP) obtained Helium-3 Detector Tubes from the EM program at Oak Ridge, which resulted in cost savings for construction of the facility. The tubes will be used to scan and measure the neutron particles emitted from uranium deposits inside large equipment removed from the process building. Measurements from the scans will be used to determine how the equipment will be disposed.
FRNP mobilized construction of the facility with small business subcontractor A&K Construction in the fall of 2021.
“LINAS represents a big step forward for the NDA program at the Paducah Site in terms of technological advancements and enhancing worker safety,” FRNP Program Manager Myrna Redfield said. “From the start of this project, our team has used lessons learned from our sister site, DOE’s Portsmouth, Ohio, location, to ensure we bring in the best possible solutions to the Paducah Site.”
EM anticipates benefiting from long-term cost savings that result from efficiencies and increases in productivity.