Southeastern Section–56th Annual Meeting (29–30 March 2007)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 10:00 AM


BAGWELL, Laura A., AMIDON, Mark B. and O'QUINN, Sadika M.B., Bechtel Savannah River, Inc, Savannah River Site, Aiken, SC 29808,

During the first four decades of its fifty-six years, the Savannah River Site (SRS) was a key supplier of nuclear materials for national defense. During the 1990s, the site's primary missions became waste site closure, environmental restoration, and deactivation and decommissioning of remnant cold war apparatus.

Since 1989, with the approval of State and Federal regulatory agencies, SRS has implemented a final remedy for a majority of the more than 500 individual waste sites at the former nuclear materials complex. These waste sites range from small, inert rubble pits to large, heavy industrial areas and radioactive waste disposal grounds. The closure and final remediation of these waste sites mark significant progress toward achieving SRS's overarching goal of reducing or eliminating future environmental damage and human health threats.

However, larger challenges remain: What are appropriate and achievable end-states for decommissioned nuclear facilities? For non-nuclear facilities? What environmental and human health risks are associated with these end-states?

To answer these questions requires a thorough characterization and understanding of pertinent geology, hydrostratigraphy, biological and geochemical conditions, contaminant distribution and transport, and proximity of human and ecological receptors. To accomplish these objectives within the strictures of smaller budgets and accelerated schedules, but without neglecting necessary geologic characterization, SRS is implementing an “area completion” strategy that:

• unites several discrete waste units into one conceptual model,

• integrates the environmental characterization and D&D activities of historically disparate organizations,

• reduces the number of required regulatory documents,

• and, in some cases, compresses schedules for achieving a stakeholder-approved end-states.