Historic Journey Comes to a Conclusion
Unit 1 of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), located in San Diego County, has been safely transported from California through Nevada and into Utah where it reached its final destination at the Company’s Clive disposal facility
EnergySolutions announced today that the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) from previously decommissioned Unit 1 of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), located in San Diego County, has been safely transported from California through Nevada and into Utah where it reached its final destination at the Company’s Clive disposal facility.
“This is a significant milestone for the SONGS decommissioning project,” stated Ken Robuck, President and CEO of EnergySolutions. “We appreciate the thousands of hours over the course of a three year period that our EnergySolutionsemployees dedicated to safely transport and dispose of the RPV. We also would like to thank Emmert International and their crew for their support in the safe execution of this project,” added Robuck.
“From start to finish, the project required detailed planning and coordination between the Southern California Edison SONGS oversight team and our contractors, and was done with safety as the top priority,” stated Doug Bauder, SCE Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer, San Onofre Nuclear Plant.
The RPV shipping container is 15’6” in diameter and 38’6” long weighing approximately 670 tons. It is a Class A radioactive waste shipment that met all regulations for disposal at EnergySolutions’ Clive disposal facility. It traveled by rail from California to Apex, Nevada using a thirty-six axle Schnabel car, the largest in the world, with a capacity to transport loads up to 880 tons. Rail transport took four days covering 366 miles with a maximum speed of 15 mph. Extensive rail planning included machining the carbon steel sides of the shipping container to comply with extremely tight railroad bridge clearances, multiple 3D laser surveys of the rail route and third party structural evaluations of dozens of railroad bridges and structures. This effort was further complicated by challenges associated with very specific travel periods and limitations and the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once the RPV arrived in Nevada crews prepared the shipment to be transferred to a hydraulic platform trailer with 384 trailer tires for road transport. The road conveyance consisted of six large trucks that pushed and pulled the RPV trailer 400 miles through Nevada and into Utah with a maximum speed of 10 mph over a 10 day period.
“This project was a very complex undertaking that required approvals and/or coordination with over two dozen federal, state and local agencies and government entities,” stated Todd Eiler, EnergySolutions Projects Group Director. “The coordinated effort with the rail lines and departments of transportation in California, Nevada and Utah resulted in another safe and successful large component shipment managed by the EnergySolutions Projects Group,” added Eiler.
More than twenty companies were involved in the scoping, planning and execution of this project.
During 2001 and 2002 the RPV was removed from the Unit 1 Containment Building at SONGS and placed into a specially designed transport and disposal container. The original plan was to barge ship the RPV via the Panama Canal around the tip of South America to a radiological disposal facility in South Carolina. These initial plans were rejected for various reasons and the RPV had been in temporary storage onsite at the SONGS site since then.
EnergySolutions offers customers a full range of integrated services and solutions, including nuclear operations, characterization, decommissioning, decontamination, site closure, transportation, nuclear materials management, processing, recycling, and disposition of nuclear waste, and research and engineering services across the nuclear fuel cycle.