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Question: Briefly provide the Committee with the current status of the West Valley Project.
Answer: The West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) is proceeding satisfactorily toward the beginning of vitrification of the high-level radioactive waste in FY 1989.
Nonradioactive testing of components of the Vitrification System are continuing as part of the functional checkout. Major construction activities associated with the Supernatant Treatment System (STS) are progressing well and bid packages for STS components are being evaluated. The STS will reduce the current volume of liquid wastes by some 90 percent, thereby reducing the ultimate amount of high-level solid waste requiring disposal in a deep geologic repository. The decontamination of cells to be used to house the Liquid Waste Treatment System (LWTS) is essentially complete and the LWTS bids are being evaluated. Radioactive operation of the Cement Solidification System (CSS) began and modifications to the CSS are being made to improve operability. The CSS will process low-level liquid wastes, thereby permitting low cost disposal by shallow burial. Zeolite mobilization tests have been completed and simulant sludge mobilization tests are underway in a one-sixth scale model. Decontamination of the Chemical Process Cell (CPC), which will be reused to store the vitrified high-level waste
glass containers awaiting transportation to a Federal repository, 18 well underway. All major vessels have been removed from the CPC and vacuuming of the floor using a robot will begin shortly. Kerosene removal activities continue as the first of eight tanks which will be investigated has been uncovered.
In parallel with the activities of the WVDP, the spent nuclear fuel shipment program continues to return assemblies stored in the Fuel Receiving and Storage Pool (FRS) back to their utility owner. The FRS facility, when cleared of spent fuel assemblies, will be used for decontamination and disassembly of large plant components being removed from various shielded cells.
Question: Explain why there is a need for the increase in FY 1987.
Answer: The increase in funding is required to complete the procurement of equipment and systems and related construction for processing supernatant in the Supernatant Treatment System and for processing low-level waste in the Liquid Waste Treatment System. It will also provide for operation of both these systems beginning in mid-fiscal year.
The increase is also required for procurements necessary for conversion of the existing Component Test Stand into the Vitrification System which will be used to solidify the high-level radioactive waste beginning in FY 1989. Technical work on high-level waste vitrification will be increased to assure meeting the FY 1989 milestone.
Ongoing activities will continue in areas such as plant decontamination and decommissioning to support project efforts, site operations, and low-level and transuranic waste handling.
Question: How much is the total estimated cost for the project, how much is this over earlier estimates, and why has the cost increased?
Answer: The FY 1987 congressional data sheet has a Total Project Cost Estimate (TPCE) of $442 million for Phase I of the Project. Phase I does not include post-solidification costs of waste storage, transportation and final decontamination and decommissioning (Phase II). The previous congressional submission showed a TPCE of $473 million, so the current TPCE is approximately $30 million less than the earlier estimate.
Question: Please provide for the record a list of the top ten research and development contracts in the nuclear energy program including FY 1985 actuals, and FY 1986 and FY 1987 estimates of obligations for each contract. Please show only R&D funding, not maintenance and operating costs, and provide a brief description of the work being performed.
Answer: The top ten research and development contractors in the Nuclear Energy R&D Program, based on the average high amount of R&D funds allocated to the contractors, are as follows.
The work performed includes:
The work performed includes: removing
The work performed includes: defueling
Westinghouse Electric Corporation -HEDL
The work performed includes:
The work performed includes: fuel cycle limited
The work performed includes: designing
Question: Discuss some of your efforts to reduce the costs of the enrichment enterprise.
Answer: The Department has made significant cost reductions in all enrichment program elements over the past three fiscal years. In 1985, the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant was placed in standby minimizing the cost of existing plant operations. This major nearterm cost reduction decision followed extensive analysis showing that it would result in a savings of about $250 million between FY 1986 and FY 1991. Cost savings to date exceed original projections.
Also, we reduced the unit cost of production from the gaseous diffusion plants by taking advantage of the lowest-cost sources of power. As a result, gaseous diffusion power costs have decreased $16 per SW in the past 2 years. Since 1985, the gaseous diffusion plants also made use of off-peak economy energy purchased on an asavailable, economically attractive basis; such as, at night, on weekends, seasonally, and whenever lower-priced power opportunities are presented.