Client
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
Location
Richland, WA, U.S.

Hanford Project Management for Environmental Remediation

Fluor managed environmental cleanup of the largest portion of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 586-square-mile Hanford site near Richland, Washington.

Scope included maintaining Hanford's infrastructure; decontaminating, decommissioning, and demolishing radioactively contaminated facilities; managing waste; and remediating groundwater to protect the Columbia River.


Client's Challenge

Roughly half the size of Rhode Island and bordered by the Columbia River, Hanford was established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project.

The site produced two-thirds of the plutonium used for national defense. Originally under the auspices of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Hanford became part of DOE in 1977.

The site's production mission stopped in 1989 with the end of the Cold War, leaving behind massive chemical and radiological contamination. 

In 1996, DOE awarded Fluor a prime contract to address the legacy of waste that included 500 contaminated facilities, including 9 reactors and 5 processing canyons; 2,300 tons of used nuclear fuel languishing underwater in 2 basins; 20 tons of material laced with plutonium; 270 billion gallons of contaminated groundwater covering 100 square miles; and more than 70,000 drums of radioactive waste and 800 waste sites.

Hanford's facilities include the Fast Flux Test Facility (now decommissioned and deactivated); a sodium-cooled reactor built in the 1970s to test advanced nuclear fuel; and materials, components, and operations and maintenance protocols for nuclear power plants.


Fluor's Solution

From 1996 to 2008, Fluor was DOE's prime contractor ($9.5 billion contract) for remediating a significant portion of Hanford.

Fluor managed seven technical projects and maintained the site's infrastructure including telecommunications, water, sewer, power, and roads; emergency services (safeguards and security, fire protection); and a training facility. Additional responsibilities included project management, engineering, construction, operations, waste management, safety, regulatory compliance, and administration of the site's medical and pension savings plans (combined assets, $1.8 billion).

Fluor managed some of DOE's most challenging and high-risk projects. For example, Fluor processed and packaged 20 tons of plutonium-bearing material ahead of all milestones and $1.8 million under budget. In completing DOE's second highest-risk project, Fluor removed 2,300 tons of irradiated nuclear fuel (80 percent of DOE's inventory) from two 1.2-million-gallon basins next to the Columbia River. The fuel was packaged and stored in underground vaults designed and built by Fluor.

Overall, Fluor saved $900 million in costs from project efficiencies, overhead reductions, and infrastructure savings, freeing up funds to perform core missions. “Whether it was high-risk, high-visibility cleanup work, developing unique safety innovations or contributing to community projects, Fluor's workers delivered results during a pivotal time for Hanford.” August 23, 2009, Tri-City Herald. David Brockman, Manager, DOE Richland Operations.

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Conclusion

Fluor was recognized for innovative approaches to technical challenges, safety, and community commitment.

When Fluor won the National Safety Council's Robert W. Campbell Award for integrating health, safety, and environmental management into business operations, Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman said, “…the award you receive not only acknowledges but reinforces, on an international level, that environment, safety, and health management is integral to business operations and that dedication to this principle is central to being able to effectively meet the important missions at Hanford for which the Department of Energy and this Nation depend…

Today's award is evidence that Fluor Hanford, its management team and its workers, have embraced this message and made environment, safety, and health their personal responsibility too.” September 22, 2008.

At the end of Fluor's contract, David Brockman, Manager of DOE Richland Operations said, “Fluor's efforts made Hanford safer and contributed to safety improvements at other Department of Energy sites. Fluor brought leadership, research, and education into its safety initiatives and made sure other people benefited too.” August 23, 2009, Tri-City Herald.