The work on removing the contaminant TCE at the Paducah plant is ahead of schedule.
The Lasagna Process, which sends electrical current through buried electrodes to remove contaminated water droplets from the earth and into a treatment zone, was scheduled to last three years. Instead, it was shut down after two years when preliminary tests showed it removed the particles faster than expected from a one-acre site.
"This shows that we can develop breakthrough technology that allows us to clean up contamination more quickly and cost-effectively," said W. Don Seaborg, DOE's Paducah site manager. "We are extremely pleased that Lasagna achieved its goals in such a short time and was successful in removing the TCE before it could get to the groundwater."
The Lasagna site at the plant was used for testing the strength of metal containers that housed depleted uranium in the 1970s, when some people became concerned they might break open if involved in a traffic accident. TCE was used in the test, and a large amount remained in the soil, according to the Department of Energy.
Geologic conditions at other contaminated areas of the plant do not allow for Lasagna to be used, although the process is expected to be used at other plants with similar problems.