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Title: Careful where you dig!

Abstract

Improved excavation techniques help contractors at former nuclear weapons site avoid digging up the past. The Department of Energy's Hanford Site is an excavator's nightmare. It's one of the country's oldest nuclear sites, with facilities that were built in the rush to win a world war and then a decades-long arms race. During World War II the reactors and process facilities at Hanford were constructed with utmost secrecy. For instance, the site was divided up into various, distinct processing areas -- each with its own separate survey coordinate system to confuse an invading enemy. In 1989 when the Cold War ended, Hanford began its metamorphosis from top secret defense site to the nation's largest and most complex nuclear waste cleanup project. National defense urgency and past environmental and as-built standards of the time left a legacy of chemical discharges and semi-hidden utilities. Also, the new cleanup mission included a new interest in privatization and outsourcing for engineering and services. This brought an influx of new contractors and personnel with no work experience of the Hanford Site. In the 50-year history of Hanford, various government agencies, contractors and their policies have come and gone. As federal budgets rose and fell, somore » did the accuracy of as-built documentation. At one point, jobs below $150,000 in value were not even documented as they were built because it wasn't considered cost-effective. Many utilities were field-routed, leaving no dependable as-built drawings. To be cost-effective, adjacent construction projects often shared a common excavation, both adding underground lines to the same trench. This 1ed to mixed confidence levels in the accuracy of the as-builts.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Environmental Restoration and Waste Management, Washington, DC (US)
OSTI Identifier:
16959
Report Number(s):
WHC-SA-3073-FP; ON: DE99050546; BR: EW0000000
ON: DE99050546; BR: EW0000000; TRN: AH200136%%714
DOE Contract Number:  
AC06-96RL13200
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 01 Apr 1996; Supercedes report DE99050546; PBD: 1 Apr 1996
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; HANFORD RESERVATION; ENGINEERING DRAWINGS; UNDERGROUND FACILITIES; DOCUMENTATION; EXCAVATION; SITE CHARACTERIZATION

Citation Formats

Kelly, D S. Careful where you dig!. United States: N. p., 1996. Web. doi:10.2172/16959.
Kelly, D S. Careful where you dig!. United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/16959
Kelly, D S. Mon . "Careful where you dig!". United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/16959. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/16959.
@article{osti_16959,
title = {Careful where you dig!},
author = {Kelly, D S},
abstractNote = {Improved excavation techniques help contractors at former nuclear weapons site avoid digging up the past. The Department of Energy's Hanford Site is an excavator's nightmare. It's one of the country's oldest nuclear sites, with facilities that were built in the rush to win a world war and then a decades-long arms race. During World War II the reactors and process facilities at Hanford were constructed with utmost secrecy. For instance, the site was divided up into various, distinct processing areas -- each with its own separate survey coordinate system to confuse an invading enemy. In 1989 when the Cold War ended, Hanford began its metamorphosis from top secret defense site to the nation's largest and most complex nuclear waste cleanup project. National defense urgency and past environmental and as-built standards of the time left a legacy of chemical discharges and semi-hidden utilities. Also, the new cleanup mission included a new interest in privatization and outsourcing for engineering and services. This brought an influx of new contractors and personnel with no work experience of the Hanford Site. In the 50-year history of Hanford, various government agencies, contractors and their policies have come and gone. As federal budgets rose and fell, so did the accuracy of as-built documentation. At one point, jobs below $150,000 in value were not even documented as they were built because it wasn't considered cost-effective. Many utilities were field-routed, leaving no dependable as-built drawings. To be cost-effective, adjacent construction projects often shared a common excavation, both adding underground lines to the same trench. This 1ed to mixed confidence levels in the accuracy of the as-builts.},
doi = {10.2172/16959},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/16959}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1996},
month = {4}
}