May 29, 1998


OAK RIDGE, TN --The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the selection of Foster Wheeler Environmental Corporation (Foster Wheeler), to retrieve, treat, package, and certify transuranic (TRU) waste stored at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for disposal offsite.

While the Department has selected Foster Wheeler to manage TRU waste treatment and certification at ORNL, the actual contract will not be signed until after a report to Congress is submitted with a required 30-day period for Congressional notification. The total value of the contract is approximately $200 million over 11 years. Foster Wheeler, headquartered in Livingston, New Jersey, is expected to begin construction by 2001, and to start processing waste by January 2003.

This work had previously been estimated to cost in excess of one billion dollars. By awarding the contract through a competitive process, the Department anticipates savings of several hundred million dollars.

According to James C. Hall, Manager of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Offices Office, "This is an important step in our efforts to clean up the Oak Ridge Reservation. We are pleased to begin the process of treating and removing this highly radioactive transuranic waste from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to permanent disposal facilities out of state."

These wastes result from past ORNL research and development activities and radioisotope production. Some materials date back to the World War II Manhattan Project. TRU wastes consist primarily of clothing, tools, rags, debris, residues, sludges, and other disposable items contaminated with radioactive transuranic isotopes.

Under the contract, Foster Wheeler will construct an onsite processing facility in the Melton Valley area of the Laboratory to treat and package the waste. Under the terms of its contract, Foster Wheeler is also responsible for cleaning up of the processing facility after its work is finished and restoring the site to its original condition. After treatment, the transuranic wastes will be shipped to the Department's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico, for permanent geological disposal.


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