Greg Wilkett, Fluor-BWXT President and CEO
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Waste Management

Project team member Greg Hatfield places a placard on the side of an intermodal container prepared for shipment from the DOE Portsmouth Site. The team involved in Waste Management moved 1.1 million cubic feet of material in a 12-week period and logged more than 100,000 hours without a safety incident.

Waste Management: Improving Efficiency, Safety

February 10, 2012

PIKETON, Ohio – Between mid-June and mid-September, Fluor B&W Portsmouth LLC removed enough waste and recyclable material from the site – 1.1 million cubic feet to be exact – to cover an entire football field stacked 25 feet high. The effort, which is a continual process and an integral part of all projects on site, will continue throughout the entire cleanup mission. Because of the magnitude and longevity of the Waste Management scope, finding opportunities to streamline the process is critical to increasing efficiency and ultimately the overall success of the program.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our process flows and remove obstacles,” explained John McCoy, transportation manager. “We’re striving to reduce paperwork and go to more electronic-based systems to reduce transcription errors and misplaced documents. We’re also working on initiatives to reduce double handling material, and we’re renovating the site rail system and moving container and rail loading operations closer to the waste generators.”

The site was designed for uranium enrichment, not decontamination and decommissioning, so extensive changes in the infrastructure and processes are necessary for safe and efficient operations.

Transport units contain the materials that are moved offsite, such as the "SuperGondola" railcar shown here. This type of unit is used for less dense material and holds about 6,200 cubic feet.

The amount of logistical coordination necessary to run an effective waste management program extends well beyond the material itself. The operation requires constant interaction among several groups on site including the waste generators, data management, waste engineering, Environmental Compliance, Safety, Radiological Control, Quality, and Industrial Hygiene. Getting this effort under way, and keeping it moving, required extensive procurement support to process several hundred purchase orders and place more than 25 contracts. This effort included DOE review and approval of the largest procurements. The process is continuous because vendors change depending on waste streams and logistics. More than 60 people comprise the transportation and packaging organization, including 20 in direct support, and 40 others in the logistics chain. The logistics chain includes subcontracted truck drivers, transportation schedulers and planners, train crews, and personnel at the receiving sites.

Doug Schneider and Tim Emmons (in the lift), Michael Tate (operating the crane), Dave Armstrong, Curt Sparks and Arrick Dryden work to load materials into a shipping unit as part of the ongoing waste management process that has resulted in 1.1 million cubic feet being removed thus far in the early stages of work at the DOE Portsmouth Site.

Overall, the effort to remove 1.1 million cubic feet of material in a 12-week period involved all the mentor protégé companies, three container suppliers, four mobile equipment suppliers, six trucking firms, two logistics companies, two railroads, and seven receiving sites.

Despite the many challenges inherent in this type of work, the cross-functional team completed this portion of the waste packaging and shipping campaign safely, logging more than 100,000 hours without incident.

“We’re not just working faster, we’re working smarter,” McCoy said. “When you do that, you increase efficiency and improve safety. That’s the ultimate goal.”