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VALUE ENGINEERING FOR RADIATION HAZARDS REMEDIATION AT FERNALD OU1, OHIO
Doug Maynor, U.S. Department of Energy, Ohio Field Office

Abstract The Feed Materials Production Center at Fernald, Ohio produced uranium-metal products for the defense program for more than 37 years. Since 1989, when operations were suspended, the Department of Energy's mission has been to achieve compliance with applicable environmental requirements and clean up the inactive sites and facilities. The Department of Energy separated the Fernald site into five (5) specific clean up areas, called Operable Units. This paper reviews the value study of remediation measures outlined for Operable Unit One (OU1) in the 1995 Record of Decision.


Background

Operable Unit One consists of Waste Pits 1 through 6, a Burn Pit, and a Clearwell, covering about 38 acres in the northwest corner of the Fernald site. The Waste Pits were used to store low-level radioactive waste and contain about 628,200 Cubic Yards of waste and cover materials. Pits 3 and 5, and the Clearwell received most wastes in a slurry (liquid) form, while the other waste pits and the Burn Pit received most wastes in dry (solid) form. Waste Pits 1 through 3 and the Burn Pit were covered with soil, and Waste Pit 4 was covered with fill, clay and a polyethylene liner, but Waste Pits 5 and 6 and the Clearwell are covered by water. Other soils immediately beneath and surrounding the pits and clearwell, and ground water that may be perched in the immediate area may be similarly contaminated.

The January 26, 1995, Record of Decision consisted of the following remediation actions:

(1) Construct waste processing and loading facilities and equipment.

(2) Remove water from the open pits and treat at the site's waste water treatment facility.

(3) Remove waste pit contents, caps and liners, and excavate the surrounding contaminated soil.

(4) Sample and confirm the pit excavations to verify the remediation concentration levels have been achieved.

(5) Pretreat (sort, crush and/or shred) waste pit materials.

(6) Treat (thermal drying) waste pit materials to meet the waste acceptance criteria of the planned disposal facility (Envirocare or Utah site).

(7) Sample and analyze to confirm that the treated waste pit materials meet the waste acceptance criteria of the planned disposal facility.

(8) Ship treated waste pit materials to the planned off-site, commercial waste disposal facility (estimated quantity exceeds 600,000 Cubic Yards).

(9) Ship any treated waste pit materials that exceed the waste acceptance criteria to the Nevada Test Site (NTS).

(10) Decommission, disassemble, and decontaminate waste processing and loading facilities, drying equipment and oversize materials and forward to Operable Unit 3 (OU3) for waste disposal as construction rubble.

(11) Residual materials amenable to remedy as documented in the OU5 Record of Decision will be disposed of in that manner. All other residuals, however, will be disposed of as waste pit materials and shipped off-site.

(12) Excavations will be backfilled and covered.

The Value Study

The study team received an initial briefing from the OU1 Project Director and members of the OU1 project team from both the Department of Energy's Miamisburg, Ohio Field Office, and the Fernald Environmental Restoration Management Corporation (FERMCO) to familiarize them with the Fernald site, the Operable Unit and the remediation proposal.

  • Consistent with the job plan, the team prepared a cost model and a Functional Analysis System Technique (FAST) diagram to develop a common understanding of the project's functional elements and costs. The cost model highlighted three major cost elements (1) shipping and disposal (62.7%), (2) drying (15.3%) and waste pit excavation (12.3%). The Functional Analysis System Technique (FAST) diagram identified "restore habitat" and "acquire control" as the project's basic functions. Based on their evaluation of the available information, the team focused on the treatment and removal processes, specifically the treatment methods used to comply with the Department of Transportation regulations and waste acceptance criteria.
  • In the speculation or focused brainstorming phase, the team proposed several ideas for processing and handling the materials, and defined alternatives with the potential for significant savings.
  • In the analysis and evaluation phase, the team reviewed, rated and ranked the ideas to identify those with the best chance of success and the highest potential for added value. As commonly occurs, the team was forced to limit the number of ideas that would be developed into proposals because of time constraints. The team based its evaluation of the ideas on the critical factors of environmental quality, time and cost.
  • The team created, expanded and refined their proposals in the development phase. The proposals were subjected to technical and subjective analysis to assure hat each could be presented with a high degree of confidence that it was both technically sound and capable of execution within the given environmental, social and economic criteria and limits.

Proposals Presented

The three proposals presented by the team were:

(1) Improve the material handling system by installing a slurry processing system and dryer to handle those wastes which are difficult to handle by mechanical methods. This proposal had the potential to save almost $10,000.

(2) Increase the dryer flexibility by using pulse or other innovative technology dryers that are designed to handle high water content materials that are difficult to handle with conventional mechanical techniques. The proposal would result in a faster process rate at no increase in capital cost and is considered a value added proposal.

(3) Increase the density of the materials to be shipped using a vacuum extruder system to reduce the volume and cost of disposal at an off-site location. This proposal had the potential to save more than $1.6 million.

Summary

Typical of most value studies, the team developed specific proposals with the potential to improve the project's value by focusing on the project's function(s) and high cost elements. In this example, the proposals had the potential to reduce cost by more than $1.6 million, which is a significant savings when contrasted against a study that lasted five days and cost about $39,000. These proposals are currently under consideration for acceptance and implementation.

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