Bear Creek Processing Facility
The EnergySolutions Bear Creek Processing Facility is located near Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The facility’s primary function is the safe processing and packaging of radioactive material for permanent disposal. Volume reduction and repacking of the material is the primary goal of the facility. The facility houses radioactive materials processing capabilities including bulk waste assay, decontamination, recycle, compaction, incineration, metal melting, and a variety of specialty waste stream management options. The facility operates under regulatory authority of the state of Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Division of Radiological Health (DRH) in agreement with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and is ANI insured.
The following processes are utilized to ensure the material is safely processed and packaged for transportation and disposal.
- Sort and Segregation – This process allows our employees to determine the next steps in volume reduction by segregating certain metals for recycling and the rest to be compacted, incinerated or repackaged for transportation and disposal.
- Compaction – Material is compacted reducing volume up to 20 to 1, thereby reducing disposal costs.
- Incineration – This is the the very latest in technology, to incinerate materials with up to a 200 to 1 volume reduction. Our processes also keep air emissions well below state of Tennessee standards.
- Metal Melt (recycling) – Several times a year the smelter facility is in operation to melt and recycle metals. The molten metal is then poured into molds forming shield blocks which are then utilized in the nuclear industry.
- Green is Clean (GIC) – The facility also has the capabilities for our Green is Clean evaluation, which allows for segregation of potentially radiologically contaminated metals to be found clean and released to a recycler for salvage value. Safe Check allows segregation of material that cannot be recycled, but is suitable for disposal in a State of Tennessee (TN) Subtitle-D landfill versus disposal at our licensed Class A disposal facility in Clive located in Utah’s West Desert.
The Bear Creek Facility, like all EnergySolutions facilities, operates in a safety culture that our employees take very seriously. Monthly safety meetings and training are conducted to ensure the highest standards of safety are utilized. Safety standards at the facility have been recognized by the state of Tennessee and the facility is VPP (Voluntary Protection Program) certified.