The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Paducah site recently accomplished an Environmental Management calendar year 2022 priority, successfully dispositioning one million pounds of an ozone-depleting chemical dichlorotetrafluoroethane, commonly known as R-114 refrigerant. Reducing this amount of R-114 refrigerant from the environment has an impact equal to that of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from approximately 10,000 vehicles each year.
“Congratulations to the Paducah team for meeting this milestone,” Portsmouth Paducah Project Office Manager Joel Bradburne said. “This is a significant advancement towards DOE’s goal to entirely remove R-114 from the Paducah site over the next few years.”
R-114 played an important role in supporting uranium enrichment operations at DOE’s Paducah site before operations ceased in 2014. Uranium enrichment operations produced large quantities of heat as a result of compressing uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas. The heat had to be removed by means of a cooling process as R-114 was pumped into the system to control temperatures during the conversion process.
The R-114 removal project, led by deactivation and remediation contractor Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership, LLC (FRNP), with support from subcontractor Veolia, was completed over a month ahead of schedule.
“We have made tremendous progress in the removal of R-114 from the Paducah site. In addition to the strong team we have put together at FRNP, we also give credit to the valuable partnership we have established with our subcontractor Veolia, who has supported this milestone as we shipped one million pounds of R-114 to their facility this calendar year,” FRNP Program Manager Myrna Redfield said.
Since 2020, FRNP safely and compliantly dispositioned approximately 40 percent of the site’s former 8.5 million pound inventory, filling over one hundred specialized containers for off-site shipment and treatment. Over the next three years, FRNP will work to remove the remaining 5.3 million pounds, achieving DOE’s goal to reduce this environmental hazard from the Paducah site altogether.