“Laboratory operations personnel will use these samples to develop and perfect analysis methods, optimize laboratory equipment, and train their staff,” said Brad Garner, laboratory operations manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass.
“It is important to begin this work well ahead of main-plant agent destruction operations so our staff can develop the necessary methods for proper and accurate screening for agent and energetics in the hydrolysate,” Garner said.
Analysis methods are important, said Garner, because that is how Laboratory personnel will determine if each batch of hydrolysate has been properly processed and agent destruction confirmed. Before hydrolysate leaves the main processing building, it will be tested and approved to be released to the plant’s secondary treatment system, supercritical water oxidation. If the test does not meet expectations, the hydrolysate will be reprocessed and tested again before it can move into the secondary treatment system.
“It’s crucial to be as safe as we can, including with this operation,” said Jamie Hess, government shift representative, BGCAPP. “We have had a special safety briefing at the Lab and are taking our time to follow the steps. By getting and staying in the safety-first mindset at the beginning, it will carry through the whole project.”
Laboratory staff have data from research and previous neutralization projects as a baseline, but they need the hydrolysate samples, which are characteristic of the agents and energetics to be destroyed in the main plant, to further tune their equipment, said Hess.
“We’re looking for improvement to the historical data,” said Hess. “Our testing will give us very specific information about the methods we will use to confirm the destruction of the Blue Grass stockpile.”