APTIM Reaches Major Milestone in Disposal of Radioactive Docked Refueling Facility, Surface Ship Support Barge
MOBILE, Al., March 14, 2023 – APTIM—an industry leader in radiological and nuclear facility decommissioning, dismantlement, and disposal—has completed the removal of the major sources of radioactivity, without incident or spread of contamination, from the Naval Sea Systems Command’s (NAVSEA) Surface Ship Support Barge (SSSB). The SSSB, located at the Alabama Shipyard in Mobile, Al., once provided support to nuclear-powered U.S. Navy vessels. APTIM’s team of experts demolished the former spent fuel water pool, also referred to as the “wet pit,” or the heart of the vessel.
APTIM is on schedule to wrap up field activities on the SSSB by April, with project closure slated for June. The SSSB worksite is planned to be fully released from radiological controls for unrestricted use upon meeting strict radiological standards and approval from the Navy; after which, it will be returned to Alabama Shipyard.
“The removal of the SSSB’s wet pit is a major milestone in its dismantlement and disposal, but an even greater accomplishment is the safety performance executed by our Program Manager Bruce Fox and his team. They worked more than 204,000 safe work hours in a hazardous environment without sustaining a single Occupational Safety and Health Administration recordable or lost time incident,” said APTIM Senior Vice President of Nuclear Decommissioning Dave Lowe. “We look forward to completing this one-of-a-kind project and performing future work of this nature with the U.S. Navy.”
The radiologically controlled Surface Ship Support Barge was constructed from a converted World War II Navy T2 tanker built by Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Company, now the Alabama Shipyard. The removal of the wet pit entailed the size-reduction of approximately 2,500 tons of high-density concrete, reinforced by steel, that served as radiation shielding. APTIM also safely removed and shipped offsite the major sources of radioactivity from the lower pump room.
All of this work was conducted within a specially fabricated structure for performing radiological work to ensure the safety of the workers, public, and environment. In addition, environmental monitoring is performed to verify that work has no impact on personnel, the public, or the environment. All waste from the project is being disposed of in appropriately licensed and authorized locations outside of Alabama.
In June 2020, APTIM was awarded the contract for the dismantlement and disposal of the Surface Ship Support Barge for NAVSEA. In 2021, the SSSB was relocated via heavy-haul vessel from Virginia to Mobile, where it is being dismantled and disposed of consistent with APTIM’s written Decommissioning Work Plan. This plan requires that the work be conducted in accordance with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s strict regulations and NAVSEA contract requirements. The completion of this unique project, under a first-of-its-kind interagency agreement between NAVSEA and the NRC, will provide a model for potential future defueled nuclear-powered vessel decommissioning and disposal.
APTIM is a specialist in environmental services and offers a full range of services for the decommissioning and remediation of radiologically impacted sites, vessels, and facilities; the management of nuclear materials; and the transport of waste generated from the environmental clean-up of sites. Since the 1980s, APTIM has helped clients like the U.S. Departments of Defense and Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Naval Reactors clean up legacy sites.
APTIM is an industry leader with headquarters in Baton Rouge, La. APTIM specializes in environmental services, resilience, sustainability, and energy solutions, as well as technical and data solutions, program management, and critical infrastructure. Our dedicated people have experience and expertise to provide integrated services and solutions to government agencies, commercial and industrial clients, and energy customers. APTIM commits to accelerating the transition toward a clean and efficient energy economy, building a sustainable future for our communities and natural world, and creating a more inclusive and equitable environment that celebrates diversity of our people.
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