Environment News Service

INDUSTRY IDEAS INVITED FOR URANIUM HEXAFLUORIDE DISPOSAL

AmeriScan: March 9, 1999

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Friday issued a solicitation seeking private sector solutions for converting tons of depleted uranium hexafluoride stored at government facilities in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee to a safer form. The agency said in a statement, "While this material can continue to be safely contained for years, the advanced age of some of the cylinders has highlighted a potential environmental concern." The solicitation asks private industry to submit innovative strategies for transforming the 700,000 metric tons of depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) to a more environmentally benign state. The DOE wants to construct the conversion plants at Paducah, Kentucky and Portsmouth, Ohio, well before the construction deadline of January 31, 2004. DUF6 is a byproduct of the enrichment of uranium from the gaseous diffusion process. DUF6 was generated in vast quantities during several decades of uranium enrichment operations for commercial and defense purposes. Since 1990, DOE has conducted a program of cylinder inspections, re-coatings, and relocations to assure that DUF6 is safely stored until final disposition. William D. Magwood IV, director of DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology said DOE's request seeks private industry's expert advice and counsel as it develops a strategy to achieve objectives that include: cylinder surveillance and maintenance; design, construction, operation and final decommissioning of conversion facilities; storage or use of conversion end products; and disposition of unused products such as uranium, fluorine compounds, and empty storage cylinders. Contact: Thomas Brown, Procurement Analyst, U.S. Department of Energy (MA-52), 1000 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20585, by April 5. More information online at: http://www.ne.doe.gov/

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