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from 33 degrees C in the summer to 21 degrees C in the winter. it is a requirement of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit that the temperature not exceed 32.2 degrees C and that the change in temperature due to operations not exceed 2.8 degrees C.
Question: What is the thermal discharge off the Savannah River site, with and without the additional cooling towers?
Answer: The thermal discharges from the C- and K-Reactors flow into the Savannah River mainly through Four Mile Creek and Steel Creek. With the installation of once through cooling towers, the temperature at the mouth of the creeks during reactor operation should be approximately the same as the ambient temperature. The calculated average creek mouth temperature is as follows:
Question: What damage to the environment is being done on and off the Savannah River site as a result of the operation of the production site?
Answer: The most observed environmental impact of Savannah River Plant operations is the denuded creek beds, which are Four Mile Creek and Pen Branch, and associated deltas in the Savannah River swamp from cooling water discharged from the production reactors. There is virtually no biological life in the hot portion of these creeks and the affected Savannah River swamp system. However, these hot water discharges have no detectable environmental effects on the overall health of the Savannah River. The Department of Energy is proposing the construction of once-through cooling towers to bring the production reactor thermal discharges into conpliance with applicable Federal and State of South Carolina requirements.
The other major environmental effect of SRP operations is the contamination of groundwater due to past operating and disposal practice, DOE is aggressively pursuing construction and operation of treatment systems to reduce discharges of pollutants to the environment, operation of a groundwater cleanup system, and assessments of the extent of groundwater contamination so as to control and minimize potential environmental effects. DOE is preparing an environmental impact statement which will provide an opportunity for public inputs on the proposed modifications to the SRP waste management activities to protect groundwater.
There are other environmental effects resulting from SRP operations; for example, releases of radionuclides to the atmosphere and surface water. However, these environmental effects are minor and well within all applicable requirements.
Cleanup Work at Fernald
Question: Please describe the clean up work that is being conducted at the Fernald site.
Answer: Currently, and in the near future, the cleanup efforts at the Feed Materials Production Center will concentrate primarily on characterization of waste pits, silo residue, waste streams, groundwater contamination, soil contamination, and buried and aboveground rubble. As completion of characterization activities permit, plans will be developed and implemented to stabilize, as required, and subsequently dispose of waste materials in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Ongoing cleanup efforts include shipment of low-level wastes to the Nevada Test Site for disposal and improvements in the general housekeeping practices of facility operations.
Fernald Environmental Funding
Question: What funding is being directed at the cleanup of the Fernald site in FY 1985, FY 1986, and FY 1987?
Answer: Funding for environmental protection and compliance at Fernald for the years requested follows. Please note that we have a new contractor on board at Fernald who is now reviewing the FY 1986 and FY 1987 funding allocation. The funding allocated to environmental matters is likely to increase as a result of this review.
Question: Describe the budget authorization and appropriation for Fernald clean up in FY 1986.
Answer: Within the Nuclear Materials Production program, $11.8 million is included for continuing efforts. The budget authorization and appropriation for Fernald clean up in FY 1986 is $1!.8 million, and includes continued funding to comply with applicable environmental requirements, including groundwater, soil sampling, health physics, and outside analytical services. Included in the above amount is $3.9 million in capital equipment for items such as dust collectors, high efficiency particulate air filters, surface decontamination equipment, and an atmospheric dispersion model.
The Defense Waste and Byproducts Management efforts are directed at management of the low-level waste stored at the site. Some of the waste which can be disposed of with minimal processing is being shipped to the Nevada Test Site for disposal. Project 86-D-174 has been initiated in FY 1986 to provide a permanent facility to allow all newly generated low-level waste to be shipped offsite for disposal beginning in FY 1988. Activities also underway in FY 1986 include characterization of the waste stored in pits and silos at the site and development of options for final disposal of this waste.
Research Programs to Improve Production
Question: Describe the status of research programs designed to improve the production at existing reactors.
Answer: Research programs at both the Savannah River Plant and the Hanford site are being conducted to assure continued production. At the SRP, studies of potential long-term life-limiting mechanisms and their mitigating actions are currently underway, with a final report expected in June, FY 1989. The ongoing restoration and productivity retention programs will assure the continued reliability of the SRP reactors. A recently completed study of the N Reactor concludes that this facility can be reliably operated through the mid-1990's and that several cost-effective alternatives are available to refurbish N Reactor and extend its useful life well into the next century. Further study and research on these alternatives will take place over the next several years, and decisions will not be required until the late 1980's and can be phased 80 that the refurbishment program is tailored to material needs and budgetary constraints. Development of a higher productivity plutonium charge, the Mark 225-25, has been underway at SRP for several years, with operation of a demonstration charge currently scheduled for FY 1989. Since utilization of this charge will significantly impact uranium feed material requirements, the implementation decision will be based on an analysis of material supply and budget requirements.
Extend Life of N Reactor
Question: Please describe the program to extend the life of "N" reactor at Richland.
Answer: N Reactor can be operated safely and economically until the mid-1990's with surveillance, maintenance, and selective replacement of fuel pressure tubes. However, years of neutron bombardment is resulting in the distortion of the graphite stack and embrittlement of the pressure tubes. In addition, normal aging processes are causing gradual deterioration of equipment in the balance-of-plant systems leading to increased reliability and efficiency problems. In order to extend the life of N Reactor beyond the year 2000, we are expanding our graphite stack and pressure tube surveillance program to better characterize the nature and timing of the aging phenomena and to support decisions on the type of renovation work that will be required to extend the reactor life. Presently, we see the need to either refurbish or replace the graphite stack and many of the process tubes in the mid-1990's requiring a construction line item in the early 1990's. The balance-of-plant systems will be addressed as part of a continuing comprehensive maintenance program.
Number of Reactors on Tritium
Question: Once the stockpile requirements for plutonium are met, how many reactor years of tritium are required on a continuing basis?
Answer: Production of tritium in the Savannah River reactors is always scheduled before plutonium production.
Status of New Replacement Reactor
Question: What is the status of work on a New Replacement Reactor? How much is included in the budget in FY 1985, FY 1986, and FY 1987 for a New Replacement Reactor? What is the expected TEC of such a reactor?
Answer: The decision to deploy a New Production Reactor, NPR, has been deferred for several years until completion of life extension studies for the existing Savannah River Plant production reactors and refurbishment plans for the N Reactor are finalized and requirements for materials production confirm the need for an NPR.
In FY 1985, $3.0 million was expended for the New Production Reactor, NPR, for preconceptual design activities. In FY 1986, $6.1 million was budgeted for NPR activities. However, the NPR
program is being deferred, and all efforts and studies are being brought to a logical termination in FY 1986. There are no funds included in the FY 1987 budget for the NPR program.
The expected total estimated cost of a large New Production Reactor could range from $2.8 billion for a Heavy Water Reactor to $4.4 billion for a High-Temperature Gas Reactor in 1985 constant year dollars. These estimates assume the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory as the reference site. Other sites were also considered--the Savannah River Plant and the Hanford site.
Question: Please provide the employment levels at all Materials Production sites in FY 1985, FY 1986, and FY 1987.
Answer: Contractor employment levels at Materials Production sites follows:
*This data represents prime contractor operation personnel. Construction subcontractor employment, which fluctuates with the level of construction effort, is not included.
Special Isotope Separation
Question: What is the status of the readiness review of the competing Special Isotope Separation process required in the conference report on the FY 1986 Energy and Water Development Appropriation Act?
Answer: The process readiness review is now complete. conducted by a team of experts in the fields of science and engineering.
The technologies reviewed were the Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation, AVLIS, process being developed by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, LLNL, and the Molecular Laser Isotope Separation, MLIS, process under development at the Los Alamos National Laboratory or LANL.