“The goal of optimization is to identify the best conditions to completely and efficiently rinse munitions before feeding to the Munitions Treatment Unit,” said Rick Holmes, project manager, Bechtel Pueblo Team. “Technicians are looking at munition rotation, rinse pressure and time to establish sustainable and maintainable operations.”
The testing, which began in early June, consists of varying time, pressure and rotation to optimize the munition washout process. Test conditions are compared against design conditions, said John Jackson, plant support specialist, PCAPP.
Munitions were tested with washout times between 70 seconds to 140 seconds, at pressures between 3,500 pounds per square inch (psi) and 6,500 psi, with or without rotation. Each munition was weighed after the rinse. The munitions were then washed under design conditions and weighed again. After, the weights were compared and if there was no variation, the munition passed, Jackson said.
“The lower the pressure of the rinse, the less wear and tear on the equipment,” said Jackson. “Our objective is to minimize toxic area entries by technicians for equipment maintenance and equipment down time.”
Holmes said the testing has also shown the munitions do not need to be rotated to get an effective rinse.
Before pilot testing began, first-of-a-kind equipment testing was performed off site to determine an initial design for washout conditions. Design conditions were established at 7,500 psi, with a washout duration of 140 seconds with rotation, said Jackson.
Plant technicians are currently validating the results from the optimization testing and will then conduct a four-hour run.
Validation must be complete before the initiation of Integrated Facility Demonstrations, during which the plant will run at full capacity and emissions will be monitored, Jackson said.