U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
Hamilton, OH, U.S.

U.S. DOE Fernald Environmental Remediation

On this 14-year project, Fluor managed the environmental cleanup and site closure of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Fernald uranium production facility, one of the largest environmental cleanup operations undertaken in U.S. history.

The Fernald Environmental Remediation project received Fluor's Hugh Coble Project Excellence Award in 1998. The award is based on outstanding performance in several areas; including safety, value creation, and Client and community relations.


Client's Challenge

For nearly 37 years, the DOE Fernald site near Cincinnati, Ohio produced over 500 million pounds of high-purity uranium metal products for the U.S. defense program. During the Cold War, this 1,050-acre site generated over 6 million tons of liquid and solid wastes and emitted over 1 million pounds of uranium into the atmosphere from its production stacks.

When operations ceased in 1989, the site became an environmental cleanup project, leaving behind a legacy of radioactive and hazardous wastes, nuclear product, aging facilities and site infrastructure, contaminated soil and a uranium-contaminated groundwater plume.

Fernald was added to the U.S. EPA's National Priorities List of Superfund Sites most in need of cleanup in 1989.

Fluor's Solution

Original projections estimated the Fernald cleanup would take 30 years and cost $12 billion. When shut down, the Fernald processing facility had over 250 radioactively contaminated structures residing on over 2.5 million cubic yards of heavily contaminated soil, with an excess of 1,500 tons of nuclear material held up in aging process lines and vessels.

Fluor provided project management, engineering, procurement, and construction services to retrieve, package, and remove this waste. Fluor also decontaminated and demolished the buildings, constructing new facilities to process the waste.

To meet the accelerated clean-up schedule at Fernald, Fluor developed a 13-part project management strategy to work safely through cost efficiencies utilizing available funding. Implementation of this strategy required a dramatic culture change at Fernald, from a government mindset to an entrepreneurial / commercial model. Site safety dramatically improved and several creative and cost-saving solutions were implemented using innovative approaches. For example, Fluor constructed a 75-acre onsite disposal facility to contain 2.9 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris.



Fluor declared physical completion of Fernald on October 29, 2006, two months ahead of the already accelerated target schedule and below the target cost.

In recognition of this success, Project Management Institute (PMI) chose the Fernald Closure Project as the 2007 Project of the Year from candidate projects worldwide.

Today, the former Fernald site is a wildlife sanctuary featuring prairies and wetlands.