Contractors take a look at Parks nuclear waste site
It was the biggest crowd the radioactive waste dump in Parks Township has had in some time.
Representatives from 20 different firms from around the country visited the 44-acre site along Route 66, according to Mike Helbling, project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers, which is leading the half-billion dollar cleanup project.
Owned by BWX Technologies and formally known as the Shallow Land Disposal Area, the dump received radioactive and chemical waste from about 1960 to the early 1970s. The former Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. (NUMEC) in Apollo and Parks, and its successor, the Atlantic Richfield Co., buried the waste from producing nuclear fuel for submarines and a range of nuclear products for the federal government and private industry.
The Corps is pleased with the amount of interest from contractors to bid on the project, said Helbling. The Corps issued a draft request for proposal on Dec. 19.
“We're thrilled with the response,” he said, “and we believe that will help promote robust competition.”
Cleanup operations halted only six weeks after they began in fall 2011 when the Corps' contractor, Cabrera Services, Inc., allegedly mishandled some nuclear waste and workers unearthed unexpected quantities of “complex” nuclear materials.
Given the greater complexity of the cleanup and soaring cost estimates, Corps headquarters in Washington reconsidered its lead position in the cleanup last year.
After public outcry to keep the Corps on the project and closed-door meetings in Washington, D.C., the Corps announced it would continue to lead the project but would work closely with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Now the Corps is looking for a new contractor to resume cleanup operations. The earliest date that the agency would select a contractor would be the fourth quarter of 2013, according to Helbling.
Then, the contractor would have to present a cleanup plan, which must meet Corps approval. The site would have to be prepared for more excavation, including the installation of a new water treatment system, Helbling said.
“The plan is to begin excavating in the spring of 2015,” he said.
Cabrera is still on site for snow removal and maintenance, while security is still present round the clock, Helbling added.
The Corps will continue to review the cleanup because the projected cost of the cleanup substantially exceeded its original cost estimate from $45 million in 2007 to up to $500 million currently.
As part of the process, the public will have a chance to comment on the cleanup plan sometime in April and May, Helbling said.
Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4691 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lower Burrell man charged with shoplifting
- Freeport man accused of having child pornography images
- New Kensington contractor selected to serve on bridge project
- New Kensington to convert tennis courts to dek hockey rink
- Both candidates for governor visiting Armstrong County on Saturday
- Recognition key to winning 33rd District
- 55th House candidates relying on relationships with voters, not media advertising
- Allegheny Valley drug suspects corralled
- Police: New Kensington drug suspect, Brandon Allen, used wrong name
- New Kensington police search for gunman in GetGo robbery
- Apollo-Ridge school bus safety program aims to drive message home